Permeability of Insect Cuticle to Water and Lipids

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Science  15 Jan 1965:
Vol. 147, Issue 3655, pp. 295-298
DOI: 10.1126/science.147.3655.295


Insect cuticle presents a paradox: permeability to water may vary at different times, while lipids penetrate readily. Electron microscopy shows that the epicuticle is penetrated by filaments of wax 60 to 130 Å in diameter. These are believed to be lipid-water liquid crystals in the middle phase. The variable permeability to water, and other properties of the cuticle, may be due to phase changes.

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