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Composition of Sublingual Saliva of the Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)


A. M. BEAL


The School of Biological Science, University of N.S.W., P.O. Box 1, Kensington, N.S.W. Australia 2033. Telephone: 02-697-2222.Fax: 02-662-2918


ABSTRACT

l. Sublingual saliva was obtained from anaesthetized koalas by intravenous infusion of carbamylcholine chloride and analysed for electrolytes, protein, urea and amylase activity.

2. Salivary flow rates were low relative to other salivary glands (range 3.8-16.6 μl/min/g·gland) including the other major glands of the koala.

3. Salivary calcium (3.6-20.9 mmol/l) and magnesium (19-168 μmol/l) concentrations and saliva/plasma urea ratios (0.49-4.83) were negatively correlated with flow rate.

4. The osmolality (270.2-301.1 mosmol/kg) and the concentrations of protein (3.2-7.4 g/l), sodium (79.3-136.0 mmol/l), potassium (14.7-33.6 mmol/l), chloride (133.2-146.3 mmol/l) and phosphate (0.65-1.87 mmol/l) were not significantly correlated with flow probably as a consequence of the small sample size.
5. No amylase activity was found in any saliva sample.
6. Salivary calcium and magnesium concentrations were positively correlated to total protein concentration.

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