The mucus of reef corals may be an important component of coral reef trophic structure. However, difficulties in the collection, purification and analyses of coral mucus have resulted in inconsistencies among compositional studies, making interpretations about the trophic importance
of coral mucus uncertain. Thus, immunochemical studies were undertaken to understand the biochemistry of the mucus of the solitary scleractinian coral Fungia scutaria. Double-diffusion and solid-phase radioimmunoassay studies corroborated electrophoretic evidence in elucidating some
aspects about the composition of the mucus. One component of the mucus may be a sulfated acid polysaccharide (MAP) strongly associated with protein or peptide. This MAP component may occur in the mucus of other scleractinians since the antiserum prepared against Fungia mucus reacted
with the mucus of the scleractinian Montipora verrucosa. Most of this cross-reactivity appeared to reside in the MAP component. Immunochemical techniques may be valuable in elucidating the composition of coral mucus, its structure, and its importance in the biology and ecology of corals
and coral reefs.
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