Primary organic membrane

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  • according to Hottinger (2006):

PRIMARY ORGANIC MEMBRANE - (POM); see primary organic sheet and median layer.

Remarks: This term (Bé et alii, 1980; Anderson & Lee, 1991) is misleading and should not be used at all in foraminiferology for the following reasons: The median layer is part of an outer, biomineralized cell envelope and has nothing in common with the primary cell membrane (plasmalemma) of the foraminifer; neither their biochemistry nor their geometry are comparable (see Hottinger & Dreher, 1974; Leutenegger, 1977). Moreover, the acronym POM is used in oceanography for "particulate organic matter" in the water column. Foraminiferal organic linings or its fragments are known to be one of many components of particulate organic matter, especially below the lysocline. The use of this term or its acronym may cause confusion.


Anderson & Lee (eds.) (1991), Biology of Foraminifera, Academic Press, London, 368 p.

Bé, Hemleben, Anderson & Spindler (1980), Pore structures in planktonic Foraminifera, Journal of foraminiferal Research, Lawrence, vol. 10, N° 2, p. 117-128.

Hottinger & Dreher (1974), Differentiation of protoplasm in Nummulitidae (Foraminifera) from Elat, Red Sea. Marine Biology, Heidelberg, vol. 25, N° 1, p. 41-61.

Hottinger (2006), Illustrated glossary of terms used in foraminiferal research. Carnets de Géologie, Memoir 2, ISSN 1634-0744

Leutenegger (1977), Ultrastructure de Foraminifères perforés et imperforés ainsi que de leur symbiotes.- Cahiers de Micropaléontologie, Paris, fasc. 3-1977, 52 p. + 54 pls.

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