Dissolution of gallstones consisting of cholesterol, calcium carbonate, or calcium phosphate in different solvents left an amorphous organic gel-like substance (the matrix). Matrix from cholesterol stones could be colourless but was usually orange, yellow, or brown while that from calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate stones was almost invariably coloured black or dark brown. These pigments were also shown to be organic and amorphous. The amount of matrix present and its structure varied with the texture of the crystalline material. Irrespective of their composition, laminated pieces of material yielded compact laminated matrix of the same shape as the original piece and areas of loose crystalline material gave small pieces of non-cohesive matrix. Only large cholesterol crystals which usually radiate from the stone nucleus had no associated matrix.
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