Navigation Links
Bare bones of crystal growth: Biomolecules enhance metal contents in calcite
Date:10/31/2008

Blacksburg, Va. From shells to bones, the skeletons of organisms contain small amounts of impurity elements such as magnesium. Because the levels of these elements provide important clues to past environments, a considerable effort has focused on understanding how to relate impurity contents to the ancient environments in which an organism lived.

In the October 31 issue of Science magazine, Allison Stephenson, a Ph.D. candidate in geoscience, and Patricia Dove, professor of geoscience in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, and colleagues* report that a hydrophilic peptide, similar in character to those found in calcifying organisms, significantly enhances the magnesium (Mg)-content of calcite.

"We knew from another study in our group (Elhadj et al., 2006, PNAS) that the chemistry of simple peptides as well as proteins could be tuned to control crystal growth rate and change crystal morphology," said Dove. "From that understanding, we realized that the water-structuring abilities of certain biomolecules could also influence the amount of impurities that can go into minerals."

"All organisms use proteins to grow minerals into complex shapes with remarkable functions," said lead author Stephenson. "But this finding is especially meaningful for geologists because Mg-content in carbonates is used as a 'paleo thermometer'. That is, we know that Mg content increases with temperature, but now we see that certain biomolecules could also affect those 'signatures'. The findings raise questions about the interplay of different factors on metal-contents in biominerals."

The findings also offer new insights for materials synthesis because a high degree of control on impurities is often necessary to give specific properties such as strength or electrical conductivity. By using biomolecules, it may be possible to tune impurities to desired levels, Dove said.

"Also, this basic research suggests new ways of looking at biochemical origins of pathological skeletal mineralization, and whether local biochemistry could influence the uptake of toxic metals into human skeletons," Stephenson said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Susan Trulove
STrulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Why binge drinking is bad for your bones
2. IOF calls on European citizens to stand tall and speak out for their bones
3. Excavated Jericho bones may help Israeli-Palestinian-German team combat tuberculosis
4. Where and why humans made skates out of animal bones
5. Ancient fish bones reveal impacts of global warming beneath the sea
6. New research on structure of bones raises questions for treatment of osteoporosis
7. Photonic crystal biosensors detect protein-DNA interactions
8. Scientists demonstrate the sharpest measurement of ice crystals in clouds
9. Crystal (eye) ball: Study says visual system equipped with future seeing powers
10. New clues to how proteins dissolve and crystallize
11. Scientists find missing evolutionary link using tiny fungus crystal
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/16/2016)... 16, 2016 The global ... to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, according ... Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in commercial ... to drive the market growth.      ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for biometric ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of ... make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... TORONTO , June 7, 2016  Syngrafii ... begun a business relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s ... pilot branch project. This collaboration will result in ... for the credit union, while maintaining existing document ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160606/375871LOGO ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced that ... joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled that ... of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays brings ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated ... the medical community, has closed its Series A funding ... . "We have received a commitment from ... we need to meet our current goals," stated ... the runway to complete validation on the current projects ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free validated ... will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, 2016 ... on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA (Drug ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 22, 2016  Amgen ... platinum sponsorship of the QB3@953 life sciences ... improve human health. The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 ... startups overcome a key obstacle for many early stage ... As part of the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen ...
Breaking Biology Technology: