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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. S. Burdon Sanderson   16 October [1874]

49 Queen Anne Street. | W.

Oct 16

Dear Mr Darwin,

I do not think that it is possible to regard areolar tissue or the fibrous basis of bone as allied to gelatine.1 They are often called collagens & said to consist of gelatigenous substance, but all that this means is that they yield gelatine when boiled in water. In the natural state they do not contain any gelatine.

Fibrocartilage, fibrous basis of bone and areolar tissue are closely allied, but there is no relation between them and fibrin, which is a genuine albuminous substance.

I still think that the common property by which the 5 substances are linked together, must be their not containing nitrogenous material soluble in water.2

If it were possible for me to examine the substances actually used, I should be able to ascertain whether this is so or not.

If in this way or any other I can be of the slightest service, it will afford me the greatest pleasure

I am, Dear Mr Darwin | very truly yours | J B Sanderson


CD was trying to ascertain why Drosera (sundew) reacted less to fibrin, areolar tissue, the fibrous basis of bone, gelatine, and fibrocartilage than to meat and albumen (see letter to J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 13 October 1874).


Responds to CD’s questions about relation to gelatin of areolar tissue, fibrous basis of bone, and other substances CD is using in his work on digestion of Drosera.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Scott Burdon Sanderson, baronet
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Queen Anne St, 49
Source of text
DAR 58.1: 104–5
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9681,” accessed on 4 August 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22