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The nonliving, protective surface layer of cells, or organisms. In mammals, the cuticle is the Epidermis layer of skin. For plants, the cuticle is a transparent waxy layer of cutin. Cutin is visible on many fruits, such as apples. Carnauba wax is the cutin layer collected from leaves of the Brazilian palm tree Copernicia cerifera. The cuticle layer of hair shows distinct overlapping scales whose structure is often useful for determining its animal source.

Synonyms and Related Terms

cuticula; epidermis; Cuticula (Deut., Ned.); Kutikula (Deut.); cuticule (Fr.); cutícula (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986
  • Mary-Lou Florian, Dale Paul Kronkright, Ruth E. Norton, The Conservation of Artifacts Made from Plant Materials, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1990
  • F. Kidd, Brushmaking Materials, Bristish Brush Manufacturers, London, 1957

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