Biomineral nanoparticles are space-filling
Li Yang, Christopher E. Killian, Martin Kunz, Nobumichi Tamura and P. U. P. A. Gilbert
Nanoscale, 2011, 3, 603-609
Scientists in the US have tried to answer the question of whether biominerals are mesocrystals or not.
Sea urchin biominerals are known to form from aggregating nanoparticles of amorphous calcium carbonate, which then crystallize into macroscopic single crystals of calcite. The group measured the surface areas of these biominerals, finding them to be comparable to those of space-filling macroscopic geologic calcite crystals. These biominerals are therefore different from synthetic mesocrystals, which are always porous. Based on this results, the group proposes that space-filling amorphous calcium carbonate is the structural precursor for echinoderm biominerals.
Mollusk shells, corals, and echinoderm biominerals have remarkable mechanical properties, making them the object of many studies to shed some light on their formation mechanisms.
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Article submitted as part of the Themed Issue on Crystallization and Formation Mechanisms of Nanostructures, read the issue here