Special Issue "Advances in Biominerals"

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A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. David Post Allison

Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-0840, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 865 241 8394
Interests: biomaterials; biomineralization; bioremediation; nanomedicine; biomimetics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

The interaction of minerals with all biological species, including humans, is fundamental to a variety of processes that we attribute to living. This would include organism directed processes such as fabrication of skeletal structures, locomotion, and metabolism that come under the general heading of biomineralization. These processes are usually controlled from the nanometer to the macroscopic scale with examples being diatoms forming a silica skeleton from silicic acid or mammals integrating minerals into bone. Nanotechnology is a second area where minerals through designed applications could be interfaced with organics to improve living systems, for example, in health applications. The purpose of this special issue “Advances in Biomaterials” is to publish recent advances in research where minerals have been integrated into biological systems either by nature or by design. By definition this covers a broad area of research where biomaterials have impacted biomineralization, nanotechnology, nanomedicine, bioremediation and biomimetics.

Although it is requested that authors submit papers that deal with the general topics, indicated both above and in the keywords, we are also open to new innovative applications that might be included in this general description.

Prof. Dr. David Post Allison
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • minerals
  • biomaterials
  • biomineralization
  • bioremediation
  • nanotechnology
  • nanomedicine
  • biomimetics
  • structure
  • function
  • metabolism
  • locomotion
  • natural synthesis
  • directed synthesis

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Novel Method for Culturing of Leptothrix sp. Strain OUMS1 in Natural Conditions
Minerals 2012, 2(2), 118-128; doi:10.3390/min2020118
Received: 8 February 2012 / Revised: 23 March 2012 / Accepted: 15 May 2012 / Published: 23 May 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (419 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Although some strains of Leptothrix spp. isolated from aquatic environments have been characterized by culturing them in laboratory conditions, they often show morphological and chemical features distinct from those found in natural environments. To resolve this discrepancy, a novel cultivation method was devised
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Although some strains of Leptothrix spp. isolated from aquatic environments have been characterized by culturing them in laboratory conditions, they often show morphological and chemical features distinct from those found in natural environments. To resolve this discrepancy, a novel cultivation method was devised for culturing such strains in natural groundwater. Leptothrix sp. strain OUMS1 was pre-cultured in a medium lacking Fe for 2 days, and then injected into a small dialysis tube bag and immersed in a container with continuously flowing groundwater for 1–3 and 14 days. Microscopic analysis of the initial phase of sheath formation and arbitrary comparisons with medium cultures revealed that in groundwater the surface coat of the sheath comprised much thinner fibrils, and an inner sheath wall that was much thinner and more indistinct compared with medium cultures. These differences were probably attributable to poorer secretion from the cell surface in groundwater conditions. A nutrient-rich medium likely activates cell metabolism and promotes secretion, resulting in a thicker inner sheath wall and thicker outer coat fibrils. Aqueous-phase Fe was deposited on immature sheaths in a similar manner in both cultures. These results indicate that laboratory culture of isolated microbes does not always reflect their characteristics in natural environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biominerals)
Open AccessArticle Biochemical Change at the Setting-up of the Crossed-Lamellar Layer in Nerita undata Shell (Mollusca, Gastropoda)
Minerals 2012, 2(2), 85-99; doi:10.3390/min2020085
Received: 28 January 2012 / Revised: 24 February 2012 / Accepted: 21 March 2012 / Published: 29 March 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2006 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nerita undata is a marine gastropod, the shell of which consists of an external layer composed of very fine, long and undulating calcite prisms, and of an internal aragonite crossed-lamellar layer. As for any Ca-carbonate shell, both layers are composite materials, resulting from
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Nerita undata is a marine gastropod, the shell of which consists of an external layer composed of very fine, long and undulating calcite prisms, and of an internal aragonite crossed-lamellar layer. As for any Ca-carbonate shell, both layers are composite materials, resulting from the sub-micrometric association of organic macromolecules with the mineral phase. But at the transition between the two layers, in situ synchrotron-based mapping using μ-XANES spectroscopy performed at the S K-edge and SR-FTIR spectroscopy reveals that biochemical compositions change correlatively with the mineral phase, such as displayed by the distribution of sulfur-containing organic compounds (S-polysaccharides or S-amino acids) and organic molecular groups (amide I and II bands). These results highlight the complex change of secretory activity operated by the mineralizing tissue (the mollusk mantle) between these two parts of the shell, which is suspected to minutely control the setting-up of the crossed-lamellar microstructural pattern over the calcite prisms—A not so straightforward feature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biominerals)
Open AccessArticle Influence of the Depth on the Shape and Thickness of Nacre Tablets of Pinctada margaritifera Pearl Oyster, and on Oxygen Isotopic Composition
Minerals 2012, 2(1), 55-64; doi:10.3390/min2010055
Received: 1 February 2012 / Revised: 24 February 2012 / Accepted: 9 March 2012 / Published: 19 March 2012
PDF Full-text (1730 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nacre, or mother of pearl, is composed of aragonite tablets and is produced by some mollusks. Because of the highly organized internal structure, chemical complexity, mechanical properties and optical effects of nacre, its formation is among the best-studied examples of calcium carbonate
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Nacre, or mother of pearl, is composed of aragonite tablets and is produced by some mollusks. Because of the highly organized internal structure, chemical complexity, mechanical properties and optical effects of nacre, its formation is among the best-studied examples of calcium carbonate biomineralization. The pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera is harvested in French Polynesia for pearl farming. The quality of the pearl depends on the quality of the nacre on its surface and its iridescent colors are affected by the thickness of the layers. Here we report on an experimental study conducted to influence the shape and the thickness of nacre tablets by keeping pearl oysters at four different depths (7, 20, 30 and 39 m) for one week. Scanning electron microscopy was used to measure the thickness of the nacre tablets and to analyze their final shape. The shape of the tablets changed from hexagonal to rhomboid at a depth of 39 m. The change in shape led to a change in size. The thickness of the tablets was reduced by between 16 and 30% on average. We also measured the oxygen isotopic composition using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry. In this study, we demonstrated that depth can modify the size, shape and thickness of nacre tablets, but not the d18O. This environmental modification is important for the biomineralization of the shell of the pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biominerals)
Open AccessArticle Fits and Misfits in Organic Matrix Analyses: Case of the Soluble Matrices of the Nacreous Layer of Pinctada margaritifera (Mollusca)
Minerals 2012, 2(1), 40-54; doi:10.3390/min2010040
Received: 17 January 2012 / Revised: 16 February 2012 / Accepted: 17 February 2012 / Published: 27 February 2012
PDF Full-text (1819 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mollusk shells, especially the nacre, are of commercial interest as well as palaeoenvironmental proxies. They are also investigated as biomaterials for medical purposes and biomimetics. Although the mineralogy is well-known and unique (aragonite tablets), the organic components are various. However, determination of the
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Mollusk shells, especially the nacre, are of commercial interest as well as palaeoenvironmental proxies. They are also investigated as biomaterials for medical purposes and biomimetics. Although the mineralogy is well-known and unique (aragonite tablets), the organic components are various. However, determination of the precise composition of the soluble organic matrix (SOM) of the nacreous layer is difficult. Among the range of possible techniques, 1D electrophoresis and High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) have previously been applied separately to differentiate pI and molecular weights. To date, no clear correlation has been established between the two parameters obtained in such conditions. Here, we report the use of preparative electrophoresis, coupled with HPLC, to determine the molecular weights of the pI fractions. The results are compared with 2D gel electrophoresis. It is shown that both methods have drawbacks and advantages, and are not redundant. The complexity of the composition of the nacreous tablet shown by scanning electron microscope (SEM) and Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) observations is also evidenced by electrophoresis and HPLC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biominerals)
Open AccessArticle Initial Assemblage of Bacterial Saccharic Fibrils and Element Deposition to Form an Immature Sheath in Cultured Leptothrix sp. Strain OUMS1
Minerals 2011, 1(1), 157-166; doi:10.3390/min1010157
Received: 9 November 2011 / Revised: 30 November 2011 / Accepted: 8 December 2011 / Published: 14 December 2011
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (2536 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In an aquatic environment, the genus Leptothrix produces an extracellular Fe- or Mn-encrusted tubular sheath composed of a complex hybrid of bacterial exopolymers and aqueous-phase inorganic elements. This ultrastructural study investigated initial assemblage of bacterial saccharic fibrils and subsequent deposition of aqueous-phase inorganic
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In an aquatic environment, the genus Leptothrix produces an extracellular Fe- or Mn-encrusted tubular sheath composed of a complex hybrid of bacterial exopolymers and aqueous-phase inorganic elements. This ultrastructural study investigated initial assemblage of bacterial saccharic fibrils and subsequent deposition of aqueous-phase inorganic elements to form the immature sheath skeleton of cultured Leptothrix sp. strain OUMS1. After one day of culture, a globular and/or thread-like secretion was observed on the surface of the bacterial cell envelope, and secreted bodies were transported across the intervening space away from the cell to form an immature sheath skeleton comprising assembled and intermingled fibrils. Energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis and specific Bi-staining detected a distinguishable level of P, trace Si, and a notable amount of carbohydrates in the skeleton, but not Fe. By the second day, the skeleton was prominently thickened with an inner layer of almost parallel aligned fibrils, along with low level of Fe deposition, whereas an outer intermingled fibrous layer exhibited heavy deposition of Fe along with significant deposition of P and Si. These results indicate that basic sheath-construction proceeds in two steps under culture conditions: an initial assemblage of bacterial saccharic fibrils originated from the cell envelope and the subsequent deposition of aqueous-phase Fe, P, and Si. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biominerals)

Review

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Open AccessReview Cyanobacteria as Biocatalysts for Carbonate Mineralization
Minerals 2012, 2(4), 338-364; doi:10.3390/min2040338
Received: 20 March 2012 / Revised: 5 September 2012 / Accepted: 26 September 2012 / Published: 29 October 2012
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (543 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Microbial carbonate mineralization is widespread in nature and among microorganisms, and of vast ecological and geological importance. However, our understanding of the mechanisms that trigger and control processes such as calcification, i.e., mineralization of CO2 to calcium carbonate (CaCO3),
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Microbial carbonate mineralization is widespread in nature and among microorganisms, and of vast ecological and geological importance. However, our understanding of the mechanisms that trigger and control processes such as calcification, i.e., mineralization of CO2 to calcium carbonate (CaCO3), is limited and literature on cyanobacterial calcification is oftentimes bewildering and occasionally controversial. In cyanobacteria, calcification may be intimately associated with the carbon dioxide-(CO2) concentrating mechanism (CCM), a biochemical system that allows the cells to raise the concentration of CO2 at the site of the carboxylating enzyme ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) up to 1000-fold over that in the surrounding medium. A comprehensive understanding of biologically induced carbonate mineralization is important for our ability to assess its role in past, present, and future carbon cycling, interpret paleontological data, and for evaluating the process as a means for biological carbon capture and storage (CCS). In this review we summarize and discuss the metabolic, physiological and structural features of cyanobacteria that may be involved in the reactions leading to mineral formation and precipitation, present a conceptual model of cyanobacterial calcification, and, finally, suggest practical applications for cyanobacterial carbonate mineralization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biominerals)
Open AccessReview Layered Growth and Crystallization in Calcareous Biominerals: Impact of Structural and Chemical Evidence on Two Major Concepts in Invertebrate Biomineralization Studies
Minerals 2012, 2(1), 11-39; doi:10.3390/min2010011
Received: 16 January 2012 / Revised: 2 February 2012 / Accepted: 13 February 2012 / Published: 27 February 2012
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (5106 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In several recent models of invertebrate skeletogenesis, Ca-carbonate crystallization occurs within a liquid-filled chamber. No explanation is given neither for the simultaneous occurrence of distinct polymorphs of Ca-carbonate within these liquid volumes, nor for the spatial arrangement of the mineral units which are
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In several recent models of invertebrate skeletogenesis, Ca-carbonate crystallization occurs within a liquid-filled chamber. No explanation is given neither for the simultaneous occurrence of distinct polymorphs of Ca-carbonate within these liquid volumes, nor for the spatial arrangement of the mineral units which are always organized in species-specific structural sequences. Results of a series of physical characterizations applied to reference skeletal materials reveal the inadequacy of this liquid-filled chamber model to account for structural and chemical properties of the shell building units. Simultaneously, these data provide convergent pieces of evidence for a specific mode of crystallization developed throughout various invertebrate phyla, supporting the hypothesized “common strategy” based on a multi-scaled control exerted on formation of their calcareous hard parts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biominerals)

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