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Overview of pearl farming

Overview of pearl farming

golden_pearl_harvesting
Golden pearl harvesting

wholesale pearlsPearl farming begins with conducting a feasibility study to determine whether the proper conditions (financial, environmental, operational and biological) that allow pearl farming to be profitable exist for the situation in which you wish to farm. If the results of the feasibility study are positive, a farm site will be selected and the farm structure established. A source of pearl oysters must then be obtained. A new stock of young pearl oysters should be added each year to the existing pearl oysters on the farm, so that new cycles of grafting and harvesting can take place regularly.

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After young pearl oysters have reached about 2 years of age, they are ready for grafting, which starts the development of a cultured pearl. After an inspection 40 days after grafting to evaluate the results, the pearl oysters are kept on the farm for a further 12-24 months. The pearls are then harvested, and the pearl oysters that produce good quality pearls are grafted a second time (Figure 6).
Article source: The Basic Methods of Pearl Farming, Author: A Layman’s ManualMaria Haws, Ph.D. (Director, Pearl Research and Training Program, Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720 USA, Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, Publication No. 127, March 2002)
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Basic biology and ecology of pearl oysters

Basic biology and ecology of pearl oysters

pearls grafting
pearls anatomy

wholesale pearlsPearl oysters are members of the phylum Mollusca and belong to the class Bivalvia. Bivalve mollusks are distinguished by having two shells (two valves), a soft body with a small foot, a byssal gland and paired gills. Although the common name of “pearl oyster” suggests a close relationship with other types of oysters, pearl oysters are actually a distinct genus from the edible oysters, Crassostrea and Ostrea and have important anatomical and behavioral differences. The internal anatomy of a pearl oyster is shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Internal anatomy of the pearl oyster (modified from George, 1978).

Harvesting Oyster
Harvesting Oyster

Pearl oysters are most commonly found in tropical areas. The Black-Lip pearl oyster (Pinctada
margaritifera) is widely distributed throughout the tropic Indo-Pacific area (Figure 4). There are several subspecies and strains of P. margaritifera, including the Hawaiian strain, P. margaritifera galstofii, and the closely related P. mazatlantica, which was considered a strain of the Black-Lip for many years. Black-Lip pearl oysters are generally found in areas where water temperatures range from 25 to 30°C. Below 23°C, tropical species of pearl oysters stop breeding and may die. While pearl oysters can tolerate a range of salinities, they are most common in water with high salinities (around 33 ppt). They appear to grow best in clear waters that are free of large amounts of sediment since pearl oysters may have difficulty feeding in turbid water.

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The pearling boom of the late 1800s and early 1900s, they were extremely common and are reported to have thickly covered large areas of reef, including inter-tidal areas. They are now rare in many places as a result of overfishing, and are most common at depths below 60 ft. Pearl oysters are gregarious, meaning that they tend to be found in groups, both as juveniles and adults. Pearl oysters are protandric hemaphrodites, which means that most are first male, then female. The male phase usually occurs during the first 2-3 years of life, with the change to the female phase in later years. Pearl oysters have been reported to live as long as 25 years. Pearl oysters reproduce by releasing millions of eggs or sperm into the water column, where fertilization occurs randomly. In less than 24 hours, the fertilized egg develops into a trocophore larva, a free-swimming organism (Figure 5).

Indonesia south sea pearls (Lombok Pearls)
Indonesia south sea pearls (Lombok Pearls)

The larvae remain suspended in the water column for 2-3 weeks before undergoing metamorphosis, changing into an attached juvenile “spat.” Shortly before metamorphosis, the larva develops an enlarged foot and an eye-spot. The foot remains after metamorphosis, and the young spat retains the ability to move about for several months even after it attaches itself to a hard substrate. Pearl oysters can attach and reattach themselves using the byssus.

Pearl oysters feed on small algae found in the water column. The gills in bivalves are large, and tiny hair-like cilia on the gills are used to remove small particles from the water. Both adults and larvae feed on algae and other small organisms. Clear tropical waters contain limited amounts of algae. Therefore, a large amount of water must be filtered daily in order for the pearl oyster to obtain sufficient food. This is the reason that importance is placed on not crowding pearl oysters on the farm and for keeping the shells clean of organisms that compete for food.

golden_pearl_harvesting
Golden pearl harvesting

Article source: The Basic Methods of Pearl Farming, Author: A Layman’s ManualMaria Haws, Ph.D. (Director, Pearl Research and Training Program, Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720 USA, Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, Publication No. 127, March 2002)
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Price of cultured pearls & short history of pearl culture

Price of cultured pearls & short history of pearl culture

wholesale pearlsPearls were the first gems discovered by man thousands of years ago. Since that time, people of many cultures have recognized the beauty and value of pearls. Pearls are the only organic gems and require no processing to reveal their natural beauty.

At first, people relied on the chance finding of natural pearls in a variety of species of marine bivalves and freshwater mussels. Natural pearls are rare as perhaps maybe 1 in 2,000 pearl oysters contain a natural pearl.

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Natural pearls are formed when the pearl oyster reacts to an irritant by coating it with nacre, the shiny iridescent material found on the inner surface of the shell. Natural pearls are usually small, of various colors and irregular in shape. The high value of natural pearls led to the creation of pearl fisheries in nearly every part of the world where pearl producing mollusks were found. Most of these pearl fisheries were short-lived because the fishers soon over-exploited the natural stocks. ( source : price of cultured pearls )

A short history of pearl culture

Prompted by the high value and scarcity of natural pearls, Japanese researchers developed methods that brought pearl production under the control of humans in the early twentieth century. These “cultured pearls” are generally larger and of a more consistent size and color than natural pearls. Producing cultured pearls depends on a surgical procedure called grafting, which entails surgically implanting an artificial nucleus (shell bead) into the tissue of a pearl oyster. The oyster then secretes nacre around the nucleus. After several years of caring for the oysters, the cultured pearls are harvested.

Several species of pearl oysters are cultivated for pearl production. This manual focuses on the Black-Lip pearl oyster (Pinctada margaritifera). Black-Lip pearl oysters are the most common species of pearl oyster found in the South Pacific islands (Figure 1). The Black-Lip pearl oyster is distinguished from other species by the dark, iridescent nacre found on the inner shell. Pearls produced by Black-Lip pearl oysters are known as “black pearls” or “Tahitian black pearls” (Figure 2). ( source : price of cultured pearls )

price of cultured pearls
Tahitian Black Pearls

Black pearls are large, usually over 7 mm (0.28 in) in diameter and may be as large as 22 mm (0.8 in). Note: Pearls are always measured in millimeters within the industry. The nacre and pearls of Black-Lip pearl oysters are generally black or gray with shades of blue, green, silver and pink. Most black pearls are produced in the sheltered waters of the atolls of French Polynesia and the Cook Islands, although Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Western Pacific Islands have growing black pearl industries.

Benefits of pearl culture

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Pearl farming is an attractive business venture because of the high value of the final product. Although black pearls vary greatly in value depending on the size and quality, large, round pearls of high quality can sell for very high prices. For example, farm prices (2000) showed an 8-mm (0.3 in) black pearl rated “good” sells for around $40 while a 12 mm (0.48 in) pearl of the same quality sells for up to $120. In recent years, pearl prices have fallen signficantly, especially for smaller, lower-quality pearls. The price of large and high quality pearls, however, have not declined as rapidly. One of the principal advantages of pearl production is that the final product is lightweight and nonperishable.

Pearl oysters are most commonly found in remote tropical atolls where commercial exploitation of marine resources such as fish is difficult due to the lack of refrigeration and shipping facilities. Pearls require no refrigeration and very simple processing. Pearl farming is also a compatible occupation for people who like working on the water and have boating, diving and fishing skills. With the exception of the grafting process, pearl farming is a relatively simple form of aquaculture because pearl oysters do not require artificial feeds, complicated farm structures or constant attention. ( source : price of cultured pearls )

If properly managed, pearl farming will not harm the environment and can increase the wild pearl
oyster population over a period of years. For these reasons, pearl culture may be the best opportunity for business development in many isolated island areas.

pearl table
pearl table

Three cautions
Although pearls are a high value product, many pearl farmers fail in their attempts to make a living by pearl farming. When considering pearl farming as an investment opportunity or as a small business, there are three key points to remember:

  1. Successful pearl farming requires a long-term investment of time, money and hard work. Although pearl farming is relatively simple to learn, the main reason newly established pearl farms fail is the farmer is not prepared to invest enough time and money to take the care required to produce high quality pearls. A period of 2-3 years is required before the first pearl harvest and most pearl farmers will not begin to realize a profit until the second or third harvest. As a prospective farmer, you must have enough money, time and patience to care for the farm during this time.
  2. Production of high quality pearls is the key to having a profitable farm. Only 5-10% of each crop of pearls will be of high gem quality. From these few, top quality pearls, 90% of the farm profits will come. Pearls of average quality usually sell for only enough to recover the cost of producing them, while lowest quality pearls will bring such low prices that money will be lost in their production. Producing top quality pearls is achieved by taking good care of the pearl oysters during all stages of farming and is also dependent on the skill of the grafting technician. It only takes one mistake to ruin a potentially good pearl, so attention to detail during all stages of farming is very important. Carefully following the instructions in this manual will improve chances of producing enough high quality pearls from the first harvests to begin making a profit.
  3. Production of high quality pearls is only possible under certain conditions. Before starting a farm, evaluate whether you meet the following criteria describe on next article. ( source : price of cultured pearls )

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Article source: The Basic Methods of Pearl Farming, Author: A Layman’s ManualMaria Haws, Ph.D. (Director, Pearl Research and Training Program, Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720 USA, Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, Publication No. 127, March 2002)
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Use of anaesthetics with Pinctada maxima

Use of anaesthetics with Pinctada maxima

Harvesting Oyster
Harvesting Oyster

Introduction
To produce a cultured round pearl, a skilled-technician must implant a nucleus into the gonad of a recipient pearl oyster together with a piece of mantle tissue from a sacrificed donor oyster (Gervis & Sims, 1992). Subsequent proliferation of the donor mantle tissue forms the pearl-sac around the nucleus, and deposition of nacre from the pearl-sac onto the nucleus forms a cultured pearl over a period of about 2 years (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2004; Gervis & Sims, 1992).

To optimise pearl quality, pearl oysters must be treated appropriately to minimise stress during and after the pearl implantation procedure which may include forced opening of their shells and incision of the gonad prior to implantation. Anaesthetics have been investigated as a means of reducing stress and mortality of pearl oysters resulting from pearl implantation (Norton et al., 2000). In a more recent development, anaesthetics were used to enable removal of mantle tissue from donor pearl oysters without killing them (Acosta-Salmon & Southgate, 2005; Acosta-Salmon & Southgate, 2006; Acosta-Salmon et al., 2004).

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This potentially allows oyster donors that produce high quality pearls to be used as future broodstock. Furthermore, pearl oysters readily regenerate excised mantle tissue (Acosta-Salmon and Southgate, 2005; Acosta-Salmon and Southgate, 2006) and so donor oysters that are anaesthetised for mantle tissue removal, rather than killed, could potentially be used for pearl implantation on more than one occasion (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2004). This approach offers considerable benefits to the cultured pearl industry and justifies further investigation of the use of anaesthetics with pearl oysters.

pearls grafting
pearls anatomy

The response of pearl oysters to anaesthetics has been shown to vary between species according to the type and concentration of the anaesthetic used. Propylene phenoxetol at a concentration of 2-3 mL L-1 has been used successfully with Pinctada albina, P. imbricata, P. margaritifera and P. maxima (Norton et al., 1996; O’Connor & Lawler, 2002). Benzocaine at a concentration of 1200 mg L-1 was similarly used to successfully induce relaxation in P. albina, P. margaritifera and P. fucata over a short period of time and with a short recovery time (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005; Norton et al., 1996); however, this anaesthetic was less effective at a lower concentration of 500 mg L-1 (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005). More natural derivatives, such as clove oil and menthol, have also shown a degree of effectiveness in inducing relaxation in pearl oysters (Norton et al., 1996). Prolonged exposure to an anaesthetic may cause the mantle or body of pearl oysters to lose rigidity and collapse (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005; Mills et al., 1997; Norton et al., 1996; O’Connor & Lawler, 2002). It may also result in mantle retraction and excessive mucus production (Norton et al., 1996) and render pearl oysters unsuitable for pearl implantation. Anaesthetics are difficult to manage under large-scale pearl implantation conditions and they have not yet been widely applied in the cultured pearl industry (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005). However, donor pearl oysters are required in much smaller numbers than recipient oysters during the implantation procedure, and the use of anaesthetics with donors alone would be a more manageable proposition. Given the potential benefits of using anaesthetics with donor pearl oysters, there is a need for further research in this field with a view to overcoming some of the potential problems outlined above. With this objective, this study determined the effectiveness of five anaesthetics, at varying concentrations, in inducing relaxation in P. maxima.

2.2 Material and methods
wholesale pearlsThe oysters used in this study had a mean (± SD) dorso-ventral measurement (DVM) of 128.9 ± 12.5 mm and were maintained in suspended culture at James Cook University’s Orpheus Island Research Station off Townsville, north Queensland, Australia. They were cleaned and maintained in a raceway prior to the experiment. Twenty-seven oysters were randomly distributed between three replicate 20 L aquaria used for each of seven anaesthetic treatments: 3 mL L-1 of 2-phenoxyethanol (Sigma-Aldrich, Inc.), 1.5 mL L-1clove oil (Continental Flavour), 0.25 mL L-1 menthol liquid (Auroma Pty Ltd.), 0.4 mL L-1 menthol liquid, 2.5 mL L-1 of propylene phenoxetol (Nipa Laboratories Ltd.), 500 mg L-1 and 1200 mg L-1 of benzocaine (Sigma-Aldrich, Inc.). Thus each aquarium contained nine oysters. A further set of aquaria was used as controls and contained oysters held in 1 µm filtered sea water. The concentrations of the particular anaesthetics used in this experiment were based on those used by Norton et al. (1996).

To prepare the solutions of propylene phenoxetol, 2-phenoxyethanol, clove oil and menthol liquid, each was added to seawater in a small container and shaken vigorously before being transferred to a large container of seawater (Norton et al., 1996). The 500 mg L-1 solution of benzocaine was made using a preparation of 1:4 w/v benzocaine:methanol solution that was poured into hot seawater, before being transferred into a large container of seawater to reach the desired concentration (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005). To prepare the 1200 mg L-1 benzocaine solution, benzocaine was dissolved in ethanol (100 g L-1) and the resulting solution was mixed slowly into seawater (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005).

Aquaria were filled with 1 µm filtered sea water and the respective anaesthetic solutions were added to give the desired final concentrations. The temperature of seawater in the aquaria was maintained at 24 ± 1ºC and pH ranged from 8.0 to 8.2. Prior to placing the oysters into the aquaria, the pH of each aquarium was recorded. Oysters used in the experiment were first placed hinge-down in a tray until their shells opened. A plastic wedge was placed between the shell valves to prevent closure and allow rapid access of anaesthetic solution to oyster tissues once they were placed into the aquaria. Oysters were placed into mesh baskets which were then suspended into the aquaria.

pearls grafting
pearls grafting

Once exposed to the anaesthetic solutions, oysters were observed continually. Oysters were considered to be relaxed when they no longer responded to stimulation (touching) of the mantle tissue (Norton et al., 1996). The timing of relaxation and the proportion of relaxed oyster in each aquarium were recorded for a 30 minute period which began when the first oyster in each aquarium became relaxed. Within this period oysters were also observed for ‘body collapse’ and ‘mantle collapse’ (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005). Mantle collapse is characterised by mantle tissue that falls away from the shells, and body collapse is characterised by lack of muscular strength in all soft body parts (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005).

In both cases, they are considered unsuitable as donor oysters for pearl implantation (Acosta- Salmon et al., 2005). Relaxed oysters that did not show these characteristics were categorised as suitable donor oysters. The number of suitable donors within each anaesthetic treatment was recorded throughout the 30 min observation period. Oysters with mantle or body collapse were removed from aquaria to a raceway containing running seawater. All other oysters were retained in treatment aquaria for the 30 min period and then transferred to running seawater where their recovery was monitored for a further 2 h. Oysters were considered to have recovered when they closed their shells in response to touching of their mantle tissue (Norton et al., 1996). They were then placed into panel nets (Gervis & Sims, 1992) and transferred to a long-line culture system in the ocean. Oyster survival was recorded for a further month after exposure to anaesthetics.

A Kruskall-Wallis (κ) analysis was used to determine whether there was a difference between anaesthetics in terms of the time required for oysters to relax. A Pearson’s Chi Square (χ2) test was conducted to assess the effectiveness of anaesthetics based on the number of relaxed oysters and oyster survival. The Kruskall-Wallis analysis was generated by SPSS ver. 13, but the Pearson’s Chi Square was by Analyse-it ver. 2.11 for Microsoft Excel 2003.

2.3 Results

pearls grafting
pearls grafting

The mean times required for oysters to become relaxed and to recover from exposure to anaesthetics are shown in Table 2.1. Oysters exposed to 1200 mg L-1 benzocaine showed the fastest time to relaxation of 10.5 (± 7.9) min while those treated with 0.4 mL L-1 menthol liquid required the longest time of 31.3 (± 5.2) min to reach relaxation. Oysters exposed to 3 mL L-1 2-phenoxyethanol reached relaxation at 13.8 (± 6.4) min and this anaesthetic resulted in the highest proportion of relaxed oyster (96.3%) of all anaesthetics tested. Although both 2.5 mL L-1 propylene phenoxetol and 1200 mg L-1 benzocaine brought about relaxation of 88.9% of oysters, they showed differences in induction time with 2.5 mL L-1 propylene phenoxetol achieving this in 15 (± 7.1) min compared to 10.5 (± 7.9) min for 1200 mg L-1 benzocaine. The lowest proportion of relaxed oysters (51.9%) was recorded in the 500 mg L-1 benzocaine treatment even though the average time to relax was relatively low (17.5 ± 8.9 min). Oysters exposed to 0.25 mL L-1 menthol liquid did not relax. All but four of the oysters exposed to clove oil became relaxed, but all relaxed oysters in this treatment died during the 30 min observation period. Death was preceded by production of excessive mucus and mantle retraction. This condition was followed by mantle and body collapse.

Within the 30 min observation period following relaxation of the first oyster in each aquarium, all treatments experienced a decrease in the number of suitable donor oysters with the exception of the 500 mg L-1 benzocaine treatment (Fig. 2.1). The number of suitable donor oysters decreased after 20 min in both the 2-phenoxyethanol and 0.4 mL L-1 menthol liquid treatments, after 25 min in the 1200 mg L-1 benzocaine treatment, and after 15 min when exposed to propylene phenoxetol. These decreases resulted from the onset of mantle or body collapse in relaxed oysters. However, numbers of suitable donors following exposure to 2-phenoxyethanol, 1200 mg L-1 benzocaine and propylene phenoxetol increased rapidly to more than half the total in each treatment (total 27 oysters) within 10 min (Fig. 2.1). The highest numbers recorded were 19 suitable donors (70.3%) for both 2-phenoxyethanol and propylene phenoxetol treatments, and 21 suitable donors (77.8%) in the 1200 mg L-1 benzocaine treatment (Fig. 2.1).

All oysters in all treatments, except those exposed to clove oil, reached normal condition within two hours of removal from exposure to the various anaesthetics. One month later, nearly 100% survival of oyster was observed in the treatments using 3 mL L-1 2-phenoxyethanol, 500 mg L-1 benzocaine, 2.5 mL L-1 propylene phenoxetol, and the control, with only one dead oyster in each of them (Fig. 2.2). Six dead and three dead oysters resulted from exposure to 0.4 mL L-1 menthol liquid and 1200 mg L-1 benzocaine, respectively. Although all oysters that relaxed after being exposed to clove oil died shortly after exposure, the four oysters in this treatment that did not relax were still alive after one month (Fig. 2.2). With the exception of the clove oil treatment, survival of oysters from the remaining
anaesthetics did not differ significantly

2.4 Discussion

pearls grafting
pearls grafting

The results of this study show that benzocaine at a concentration of 1200 mg L-1, 2-phenoxyethanol and propylene phenoxetol were among the better anaesthetics to use for P.maxima. A summary of the effectiveness and characteristics of these three anaesthetics is shown in Table 2.2. Each varied in the time required to induce relaxation, the proportion of oysters that relaxed, the time that oysters remained relaxed, the time required for relaxed oysters to recover, and oyster survival. Norton et al. (1996) suggested that anaesthetics used with pearl oysters should ideally induce relaxation in less than 15 min and allow rapid recovery of oysters following anaesthesia (< 30 min). While, benzocaine (1200 mg L-1), 2-phenoxyethanol and propylene phenoxetol did induce relaxation within 15 min, none of them allowed recovery within 30 min. Different species of mollusc react differently to particular anaesthetics and concentrations (Aquilina & Roberts, 2000; Araujo et al., 1995) and a summary of a number of studies in this field is shown in Table 2.3.

Pearls Grafting
Pearls Grafting

The induction time for P. maxima exposed to 1200 mg L-1 benzocaine in this study was similar to those observed for both P. margaritifera and P. fucata in a prior study (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005). Furthermore, relaxation of P. maxima following exposure to 2.5 mL L-1 propylene phenoxetol was also similar to that observed for P. margaritifera when exposed to similar concentration of the same chemical (Norton et al., 1996). In contrast, a concentration of 2.5 mL L-1 propylene phenoxetol caused high mortality of the abalone, Haliotis iris (Aquilina & Roberts, 2000)(Table 2.3). P. maxima showed much slower relaxation (13.8 min) when exposed to 2-phenoxyethanol than reported for the abalone, H. midae (White et al., 1996). Furthermore, neither 2-phenoxyethanol or benzocaine, which were effective anaesthetics for P. maxima in this study, were successful in inducing relaxation in a recent study with the queen conch, Strombus gigas (Acosta-Salmon & Davis, 2007)

In this study, the three anaesthetics that induced the highest proportions of relaxed oysters (1200 mg L-1 benzocaine, 2-phenoxyethanol and propylene phenoxetol) also resulted in oysters which remained in a relaxed state for longer periods (> 15 mins) before showing signs of mantle and body collapse, when compared to the other chemicals tested. This is an important factor when considering the potential use of relaxed oysters in the pearl implantation process, because it increases the period over which an oyster can be utilised as a mantle tissue donor. An inability to maintain this condition, i.e. oysters showing mantle or body collapse or even mortality, renders an oyster unsuitable as a donor (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005).

Anaesthetics may disrupt synaptic transmission in the neural system of molluscs (Spencer et al., 1995; Woodall et al., 2003) and longer periods of exposure to anaesthetics may lead to neuro-degeneration of the important organs within animals (Woodall et al., 2003) and subsequently death. The death of a large proportion of the P. maxima exposed to clove oil indicates a toxic nature to this chemical. Besides changes in the morphological appearance of their soft tissues, affected oysters also produced excessive mucus. Norton et al. (1996) recorded mucus production from P. albina following exposure to the anaesthetic MS222, but not when exposed to clove oil at the same concentration as used in the present study.

pearls
pearls chart

Clearly there are differences in the degree of toxicity of clove oil to various pearl oyster species. However, it is interesting to note that four of the 27 P. maxima exposed to clove oil in this study did not relax or have an adverse reaction to this chemical; they were still alive one month after exposure to clove oil. Mantle tissue of the P. maxima that died following exposure to clove oil became inflamed and more red in colour before developing lesions indicating the death of mantle epithelial cells. This epithelial irritation may have resulted from too high a concentration of clove oil and it is possible that this chemical may be effective as an anaesthetic for P. maxima at a lower concentration. The death of some oysters recorded a month after exposure to menthol liquid also raises concerns about the toxicity of this chemical to P. maxima and its use as an anaesthetic. On the basis of our results, we do not recommend the use of clove oil or menthol liquid as anaesthetics for P. maxima.

Other important considerations when assessing the effectiveness of anaesthetics include their ease of use and preparation and potential toxicity to human users. All chemicals chosen in this study have low risk to human health. However, particular anaesthetics require more effort in preparation than others and may vary in their solubility in seawater. These characteristics are outlined for 2-phenoxyethanol, 1200 mg L-1 benzocaine and propylene phenoxetol in Table 2.2. These three chemicals were effective anaesthetics for P. maxima as outlined above, however, they varied in their preparation and solubility (Table 2.2). akoya-pearl-grades-smlWhile 2- phenoxyethanol, benzocaine and propylene phenoxetol may be considered the most suitable of the anaesthetics tested for P. maxima, 2-phenoxyethanol and propylene phenoxetol are perhaps superior because of their ready solubility in seawater and resulting ease of preparation. While this experiment has identified anaesthetic treatments that produce relaxation in P. maxima and will facilitate mantle excision, this procedure is only useful if there are no adverse effects on pearl production, when mantle tissue from anaesthetised donor oysters is used for pearl implantation. Subsequent research will address this issue (Chapter 5 and 6).
Article source: Mamangkey, Noldy (2009) Improving the quality of pearls from Pinctada maxima. PhD thesis, James Cook University.
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Problems and potential factors for increasing pearl quality

Problems and potential factors for increasing pearl quality

Indonesia south sea pearls (Lombok Pearls)
Indonesia south sea pearls (Lombok Pearls)

Pearls are harvested from only about 30 to 35% of implanted oysters (Matlins, 2002). Of these, high quality pearls make up only 5 to 10% but generate around 95% of industry income (Haws, 2002).

wholesale pearlsOn this basis, a relatively small increase in pearl quality could bring about major benefits in industry earnings. This has driven research into methods that can be used to improve the yield of high quality pearls. They have focused on factors such as:

  • reducing oyster mortality after implantation
  • increasing retention rate of grafted nuclei; and
  • improving the proportion of high quality pearls (Haws, 2002).

Other factors that may have application in improving pearl quality are the use of anaesthetics, the excision of mantle from anaesthetised oysters and the use of regenerated mantle tissue from high quality donor oysters.

1.7.1 Use of anaesthetics
The pearl implantation procedure is extremely stressful for pearl oysters and may result in mortality. Some research has been conducted to determine whether the use of anaesthetics may minimise this stress and improve survival and nucleus retention.

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Anaesthetics have also been used to assist internal assessment of pearl oyster tissues (Acosta-Salmón, 2004; Norton et al., 1996; Strack, 2006). Several basic studies on the effectiveness of particular anaesthetics have been conducted successfully with pearl oysters. Concentrations of propylene phenoxetol between 2 and 3 mL L-1 have been effectively use to relax Pinctada albina and P. imbricata (O’Connor & Lawler, 2002), P. margaritifera (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005; Norton et al., 1996), and P. maxima (Mills et al., 1997). However, the effectiveness of various anaesthetics and the degree of success in using anaesthetics in the large-scale pearl production has not yet been determined. This may reflect satisfaction in the current implantation method and that the use of anaesthetics may increase production costs (labours and time) (Acosta-Salmón, 2004).

pearls grafting
pearls anatomy

1.7.2 The potential of regenerated mantle
The ability to regenerate new tissue from wounds is essential for survival. This capability is a common phenomenon in metazoans (Alvarado, 2000; Bekkum, 2004), however, extensive studies on tissue regeneration in pearl oysters have only recently started. Recent studies by the Pearl Oyster Research Group, at James Cook University have shown that Pinctada fucata and P. margaritifera have the capacity to regenerate excised mantle tissues (Acosta-Salmon & Southgate, 2005; Acosta-Salmon & Southgate, 2006; Acosta-Salmon et al., 2004). Anaesthesia of oysters is required prior to mantle excision. They found that excised mantle tissue could heal within three days and complete regeneration was evident three months after excision. Since donor oysters are generally killed to obtain donor mantle tissue used in pearl implantation (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2004; Taylor & Strack, 2008), these studies indicated that pearl oysters used to provide donor mantle tissue for pearl implantation need not necessarily be killed. This offers considerable potential benefits to the pearling industry:

  • donor oysters that produces high quality pearls can be used as future parent stock to
    improve the quality of cultured oysters; and
  • high quality oysters could potentially be used as donors on more than one occasion following mantle regeneration (Acosta-Salmon et al., 2005)

These potential benefits assume that the mantle tissue excised from anaesthetised pearl oysters or, from oysters which have regenerated previously excised mantle tissue, will perform in a similar fashion to ‘normal’ mantle tissue in the pearl process. This assumption has yet to be tested with any species of pearl oyster and it forms the basis of this study with P. maxima .

1.8 Major objectives of this study
The major objective of this study is to investigate the potential of using anaesthesia to facilitate mantle excision from P. maxima without mortality and to assess the use and potential anaesthetised and regenerated mantle as saibo for pearl production. It will attempt to achieve this by addressing the following questions:

  • How do P. maxima respond to different anaesthetics and which anaesthetic is most
    appropriate for use with this species? (Chapter 2)
  • How does P. maxima respond to mantle excision? Does excised mantle tissue regenerate and, if so, how quickly and are the characteristics of regenerated mantle similar to normal mantle? (Chapter 3)
  • Is the composition of shell and nacre secreted by regenerated mantle the same as the
    normal shell? (Chapter 4)
  • Can relaxed and or regenerated mantle be used for pearl implantation? (Chapter 5) If so, are pearls resulting from relaxed and or regenerated mantle similar to those produced by normal mantle? (Chapter 6)
  • Do pearls from the same saibo donor have similar traits? (Chapter 7)
Harvesting Oyster
Harvesting Oyster

Several experiments were carried to address these questions and the specific aims were:

  • to identify suitable relaxants for P. maxima and their concentrations for mantle
    excision (Chapter 2);
  • to assess mantle healing and the possibility of regeneration following mantle excision from anaesthetised P. maxima (Chapter 3);
  • to compare the structure and composition of shells produced by normal and
    regenerated mantle (Chapter 4);
  • to observe the pearl-sac development between relaxed, regenerated and normal saibo
    (Chapter 5);
  • to determine and to compare the quality pearls produced using both anaesthetised and
    regenerated saibo inserted into recipient pearl oysters (Chapter 6); and
  • to analyse pearl quality from the same donor oyster with non-destructive method
    (Chapter 7).

Indonesia south sea pearls wholesale - Miss Joaquim Pearls - whatsapp +6287865026222
Indonesia south sea pearls wholesale – Miss Joaquim Pearls – whatsapp +6287865026222

Article source: The Basic Methods of Pearl Farming, Author: A Layman’s ManualMaria Haws, Ph.D. (Director, Pearl Research and Training Program, Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720 USA, Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, Publication No. 127, March 2002)
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This is my name, my phone number and my address, as a sender (written by FedEx)
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We send your purchasing parcel via FedEx, we inform you the tracking number as soon as possible
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