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Superparamagnetic magnetite in the upper-beak tissue of homing pigeon

Hanzlik, M., C. Heunemann, E. Holtkamp-Rötzler, M. Winklhofer, N. Petersen, and G. Fleissner (2000), Superparamagnetic magnetite in the upper-beak tissue of homing pigeon, Biometals, 13(4), 325-331, doi:10.1023/A:1009214526685.

Homing pigeons have been subject of various studies trying to detect magnetic material which might be involved in magnetic field perception. Here we focus on the upper-beak skin of homing pigeons, a region that has previously been shown to contain nerves sensitive to changes of the ambient magnetic field. We localized Fe3+ concentrations in the subcutis and identified the material by transmission electronmicroscopy (TEM) as aggregates of magnetite nanocrystals (with grain sizes between 1 and 5 nm). The particles form clusters of 1-3 mum diameter, which are arranged in distinct coherent elongated structures, associated with nervous tissue and located between fat cells. Complementary low-temperature magnetic measurements confirm the microscopic observations of fine-grained superparamagnetic particles in the tissue. Neither electron-microscopic nor magnetic measurements revealed any single-domain magnetite in the upper-beak skin tissue.
  author = {M. Hanzlik and C. Heunemann and E. Holtkamp-R{\"o}tzler and M. Winklhofer and N. Petersen and G. Fleissner},
  journal = {Biometals},
  number = {4},
  pages = {325-331},
  title = {{Superparamagnetic magnetite in the upper-beak tissue of homing pigeon}},
  volume = {13},
  year = {2000},
  language = {en},
  doi = {10.1023/A:1009214526685},
%0 Journal Article
%A Hanzlik, M.
%A Heunemann, C.
%A Holtkamp-Rötzler, E.
%A Winklhofer, M.
%A Petersen, N.
%A Fleissner, G.
%D 2000
%N 4
%V 13
%J Biometals
%P 325-331
%T Superparamagnetic magnetite in the upper-beak tissue of homing pigeon
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