Synchrotron radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy (SRXTM) of brachiopod shell interiors for taxonomy: Preliminary report

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Motchurova-Dekova Neda ; Harper David A.T. (2010)
  • Publisher: Faculty of Mining and Geology, Belgrade
  • Journal: Geološki Anali Balkanskoga Poluostrva (issn: 0350-0608, eissn: 2406-0747)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.2298/GABP1071109M
  • Subject: brachiopods | internal morphology | non-destructive technique | SRXTM | tomographic reconstructions | holotypes | Geology | QE1-996.5

Synchrotron radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy (SRXTM) is a non-destructive technique for the investigation and visualization of the internal features of solid opaque objects, which allows reconstruction of a complete three-dimensional image of internal structures by recording of the differences in the effects on the passage of waves of energy reacting with those structures. Contrary to X-rays, produced in a conventional X-ray tube, the intense synchrotron light beams are sharply focused like a laser beam. We report encouraging results from the use of SRXTM for purely taxonomic purposes in brachiopods: an attempt to find a non-destructive and more efficient alternative to serial sectioning and several other methods of dissection together with the non-destructive method of X-ray computerised micro-tomography. Two brachiopod samples were investigated using SRXTM. In “Rhynchonella” flustracea it was possible to visualise the 3D shape of the crura and dental plates. In Terebratulina imbricata it was possible to reveal the form of the brachidium. It is encouraging that we have obtained such promising results using SRXTM with our very first two fortuitous samples, which had respectively fine-grained limestone and marl as infilling sediment, in contrast to the discouraging results communicated to us by some colleagues who have tested specimens with such infillings using X-ray micro-tomography. In future the holotypes, rare museum specimens or delicate Recent material may be preferentially subjected to this mode of analysis.
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