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J Exp Biol. 2001 Mar;204(Pt 5):941-6.

Lactate sequestration in the carapace of the crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes during exposure in air.

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School of Biosciences, The University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.


When held in air for up to 24 h, crayfish accumulated Ca(2+) and Mg(2+) in their haemolymph in direct proportion to raised levels of lactate. K(+) levels were highly variable, with elevated levels associated with morbidity. Lactate accumulation in the haemolymph was reflected in proportional increases in lactate levels in the carapace and muscle. Pieces of carapace incubated in saline containing elevated levels of lactate accumulated lactate to up to half the dissolved concentration. Measured levels in the carapace, relative to its water content, implied that lactate accumulated in the carapace in a combined form, possibly complexed to calcium. The exoskeleton seems to provide a reserve of buffering capacity and a sink for lactate during anaerobic metabolism. A similar mechanism has been identified in pond turtles.

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