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Maria Sibylla Merian’s Caterpillar Book
Author: Kay Etheridge
The Flowering of Ecology presents an English translation of Maria Sibylla Merian’s 1679 ‘caterpillar’ book, Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung und sonderbare Blumen–Nahrung. Her processes in making the book and an analysis of its scientific content are presented in a historical context. Merian raised insects for five decades, recording the food plants, behavior and ecology of roughly 300 species. Her most influential invention was an “ecological” composition, where the metamorphic cycles of insects (usually moths and butterflies) were arrayed around plants that served as food for the caterpillars. Kay Etheridge analyses the 1679 caterpillar book from the viewpoint of a biologist, arguing that Merian’s study of insect interactions with plants, the first of its kind, was a formative contribution to natural history.

Abstract

The pods, seeds and leaves of the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua L.) are widely used in the pharmaceutical industry, and especially in the food industry. In this study, the mineral content was investigated in carob pods and leaves in twelve Croatian carob populations. Macro and microelement contents, as highly important nutrients, were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Total ash content, determined by the gravimetric method, ranged from 2.30 to 2.97% in pods and from 4.95 to 7.90% in leaves. Among the macroelements, K content was highest in pods (9,020.09–11,208.97 mg/kg), while Ca was highest in leaves (11,059.67–22,756.81 mg/kg). Microelement contents ranged from 0.00 mg/kg (Cr) to 136.70 mg/kg (Na) in pods, and from 0.02 mg/kg (Cr) to 243.55 mg/kg (Na) in leaves. The results of the macro and microelement analyses were evaluated using multivariate analysis (PCA and UPGMA).

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