Molecular composition of the louse sheath

Craig N. Burkhart, B. Artur Stankiewicz, Irene Pchalek, Michael Kruge, Craig G. Burkhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Flash pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry was used to assess the chemical composition of the head louse's nit sheath. The pyrolyzate of the female insect's secretions, which form a cement-like cylinder holding the egg onto the hair, is dominated by amino acid derivatives and fatty acids. No chitin-specific compounds were detected in the sheath. These results, contrary to previous reports, show that the polymeric complex of the sheath is composed of protein-acceous moieties, possibly cross-linked to aliphatic components. This study constitutes the first chemical characterization of the pyrolysis products o insect (louse) glue and unequivocally confirms that louse sheaths are not chitinous, as suggested by earlier histochemical studies. Development of agents that might loosen nits from the hair shaft is dependent on research that addresses the chemical composition of the nit sheath.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-561
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Parasitology
Volume85
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 1999

Fingerprint

Pediculus
Phthiraptera
louse
lice
pyrolysis
hairs
chemical composition
Pediculus humanus capitis
amino acid derivatives
hair
insects
cement
chitin
adhesives
insect
Insects
secretion
fatty acids
shaft
Chitin

Cite this

Burkhart, C. N., Stankiewicz, B. A., Pchalek, I., Kruge, M., & Burkhart, C. G. (1999). Molecular composition of the louse sheath. Journal of Parasitology, 85(3), 559-561. https://doi.org/10.2307/3285796
Burkhart, Craig N. ; Stankiewicz, B. Artur ; Pchalek, Irene ; Kruge, Michael ; Burkhart, Craig G. / Molecular composition of the louse sheath. In: Journal of Parasitology. 1999 ; Vol. 85, No. 3. pp. 559-561.
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Burkhart, CN, Stankiewicz, BA, Pchalek, I, Kruge, M & Burkhart, CG 1999, 'Molecular composition of the louse sheath', Journal of Parasitology, vol. 85, no. 3, pp. 559-561. https://doi.org/10.2307/3285796

Molecular composition of the louse sheath. / Burkhart, Craig N.; Stankiewicz, B. Artur; Pchalek, Irene; Kruge, Michael; Burkhart, Craig G.

In: Journal of Parasitology, Vol. 85, No. 3, 01.06.1999, p. 559-561.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Burkhart, Craig N.

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AU - Pchalek, Irene

AU - Kruge, Michael

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Burkhart CN, Stankiewicz BA, Pchalek I, Kruge M, Burkhart CG. Molecular composition of the louse sheath. Journal of Parasitology. 1999 Jun 1;85(3):559-561. https://doi.org/10.2307/3285796