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Focus on the formation of bones, teeth and shells
Date:5/14/2009

erals, and perhaps even to other inorganic materials.

This is important for research into the growth of bones and substitute bone material. The work might also be used in nanotechnology, to direct the growth of nanoparticles in the same way as appears to happen in nature: through a subtle interplay of organic and inorganic materials.

About biomineralisation

Biomineralisation is the formation of inorganic materials in a biological environment, familiar from bones, teeth and shells. The formation of the mineral is quite precisely directed here by specialised organic biomolecules, such as sugars and proteins. While the underlying mechanisms have long been a subject of study, there are still many mysteries in the details of this process.

One commonly followed strategy is to use 'biomimetic' studies, where the biomineralisation process is mimicked with a simplified system in the laboratory. This allows individual parts of the mineralisation process to be studied.

Using this approach, as well as the electron microscope mentioned above, Sommerdijk's research group at the TU/e Faculty of Chemical Technology managed to capture images of the earliest stages of this type of biomimetically led mineralisation reaction.


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Contact: Nico Sommerdijk
N.Sommerdijk@tue.nl
31-040-247-5870
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
Source:Eurekalert

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