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1st century Greek statue may aid in development of "biofouling" resistant metals.

Byline: ANI

Washington, August 8 (ANI): In a new research, scientists have said that an ancient first century B.C. Greek statue, discovered off the coast of Croatia in 1998, may help researchers develop metals that are more resistant to "biofouling bi·o·foul·ing  
The impairment or degradation of something, such as a ship's hull or mechanical equipment, as a result of the growth or activity of living organisms.
," the accumulation of critters that can eat away at ships' hulls.

The full statue is an example of a common pose in ancient Greek art: an athlete scraping dust and sweat from his body with a small, curved tool.

The front of the 6.2-foot-tall (1.9-meter-tall) statue was found encrusted en·crust   also in·crust
tr.v. en·crust·ed, en·crust·ing, en·crusts
1. To cover or coat with or as if with a crust:
 with 1.2 to 1.9 inches (3 to 5 centimeters) of biomineralizing organisms, creatures such as tubeworms, clams, and barnacles that form their own hard shells.

Underneath the biological crust, the corroded cor·rode  
v. cor·rod·ed, cor·rod·ing, cor·rodes
1. To destroy a metal or alloy gradually, especially by oxidation or chemical action: acid corroding metal.
 metal had taken on otherworldly hues.

"The color is related to the formation of green copper oxides on the statue, while the red coloration of the lips is due to a pure tin metal inlay inlay /in·lay/ (-la) material laid into a defect in tissue; in dentistry, a filling made outside the tooth to correspond with the cavity form and then cemented into the tooth.

 in the bronze," said Davorin Medakovic, of the Rudjer Boskovic Institute in Zagreb.

Croatian scientists restoring the statue said that the once crusty athlete can offer clues to how marine organisms absorb metals to form minerals for their shells.

Even creatures not in direct contact with the figure's surface took up some of its metals, Medakovic's team noted in their study.

What's more, the study "has shown the huge impact and disruption that this metal uptake had on the organisms' metabolic pathways, and that caused the distressed organisms to produce untypical minerals in their shells," Medakovic said.

Living on a steady diet of copper and tin, the organisms on the statue had "digested" the metals to produce shells with unusual ratios of magnesium calcite and aragonite aragonite

A carbonate mineral, the stable form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) at high pressures. It is somewhat harder and has a slightly higher specific gravity than calcite.
, for example, as well as traces of feldspar feldspar (fĕl`spär, fĕld`–) or felspar (fĕl`spär), an abundant group of rock-forming minerals which constitute 60% of the earth's crust.  and quartz.

According to Medakovic, knowing which metals mess up the creatures' digestion could help researchers develop metals that are more resistant to "biofouling," the accumulation of barnacles and other critters that can eat away at ships' hulls. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Aug 8, 2009
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