Lab determines mysterious orange goo
August 08, 2011
“We now think these are some sort of small crustacean egg or embryo, with a lipid oil droplet in the middle causing the orange color,” said Jeep Rice, a lead NOAA scientist at the Juneau lab. “So this is natural. It is not chemical pollution; it is not a man-made substance.”
Lab determines mysterious orange goo is mass of microscopic eggs
That basic question was easily answered once scientists viewed the substance under a high-powered microscope.
“It was easy to see cellular structure surrounding the lipid droplet, and to identify this as ‘animal’,” said Rice. “We have determined these are small invertebrate eggs, although we cannot tell which species.”
Although the eggs are natural, Rice could not rule out the possibility that the microscopic eggs were toxic. Samples have been sent to a NOAA lab on the east coast for further testing.
Kivalina is a remote Inupiat Eskimo village on Alaska’s northwest coast, about halfway between Kotzebue and Point Hope. Residents became concerned last week when a never-before-seen orange goo began washing ashore.
Samples of the substance were routed to the NOAA lab by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation lab in Anchorage.
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