Apr 092006

Morgellons proponents sometimes use technical language in describing their findings. I feel this clouds the meaning somewhat.

consider:

http://www.morgellons.org/symptoms.html
The unknown fibers associated with skin lesions can be described as coenocytic (aseptate), smooth-walled, branching, filamentous objects. The fibers have been analyzed by FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) and have tentatively been identified as cellulose.”

What does this mean?

coenocytic – I like how this is “explained” as being “aseptate”, as if this will somehow help the reader understand. Of course, you can look these words up, on the internet.

Coenocytic basically means cells with multiple nuclei. Aseptate can mean the same thing, but more literally means lacking the cell walls (septate) between nuclei. This type of cellular growth is typical of the threads of many fungi and some algae. See:
http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/wong/BOT135/Lect03_b.htm

“Smooth walled” seems a little odd, as the example photos at the top of the “symptoms” page do not look smooth walled at all. The next set of photos show some very thin black fibers, that appear at first glance to be smooth walled (but you can’t really tell), which surround a much thicker white fuzzy object. Where did “smooth walled” come from?

“FTIR” is your standard chemical spectography thing. You measure the absoption of various wavelengths of light, and that gives you graphs you can compare against known substances to see if it matches. A tentative identification as “cellulose” is not surprising. Cellulose is the most abundant form of living biomass on the planet. Cotton, for example, is composed largely of cellulose (91% cellulose, 8% water, 1% other).
http://www.tis-gdv.de/tis_e/ware/fasern/baumwoll/baumwoll.htm. Other cellulose fibers are linen, ramie, rayon, tencel and lyocell all of which are almost purely cellulose. Paper and paper tissues are also largely comprised of cellulose fibers.

3 Responses to “Use of words”

  1. Ever heard of cellulose made from cyanobacteria. Seem to be making it at Brown Lab at University of Texas.

    Winged Schiff

  2. Yes I have, an also, as you know: prokaryotes (Acetobacter xylinus, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Rhizobium spp. Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Salmonella typhimurium, Sarcina ventriculi) and eukaryotes, including animals (tunicates), algae, fungi, vascular plants such as mosses and ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms, and the cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum.

    Care to pick something from this vast swathe of the biological kingdom? Personally I’d suspect angiosperms, but I’d be happy to hear evidence of something else.

  3. One thing that confuses the issue is the way that Mary, from the Morgellons Research Foundation, describes the fibers as if they were all alike. They are clearly not all of the same type. Some of the Scattered Emission Micrographs at her website appear the fungal hyphae of Wangiella. Check Google Images of Hyphae. Wangiella is also pictured with the hyphae at AltaVista.

    Other micrographs appear to be paper or rayon. Paper is constructed of hollow cellulose tubes and rayon is constructed of solid cellulose rods. The round “beads” within the fibers are nothing more than reflected light. Hair without it’s pigmentation will also produce the internal “beads”. I think it’s quite reasonable to suggest that some of these images are Kleenex or fuzz from bedding or clothing.

    Tall Cotton–>

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