Biomineralization

 

Biomineralisation is the process by which living organisms produce minerals, often to harden or stiffen existing tissues. It is an extremely widespread phenomenon; all five taxonomic kingdoms contain members that are able to form minerals, and over 60 different minerals have been identified in organisms.[1] Examples include silicates in algae, carbonates in diatoms and invertebrates, and calcium phosphates and carbonates in vertebrates. These minerals often form structural features such as sea shells and the bone in mammals and birds. Organisms have been producing mineralised skeletons for the past 550 million years. Other examples include copper, iron and gold deposits involving bacteria. Biologically-formed minerals often have special uses such as magnetic sensors in magnetotactic bacteria (Fe3O4), gravity sensing devices (caco3, caso4, baso4) and iron storage and mobilization (Fe2O3H2O in the protein ferritin).

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A process used by nature to structure inorganic matter on the nanoscale using structure directing organic auxiliaries.

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1. Synthesis of inorganic crystalline or amorphous mineral-like materials by living organisms

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Organisms are able to create minerals through self-organising processes. These complex biominerals (e.g. Teeth, bones) are produced in a very efficient and controlled manner and can provide an improvement of industrial processes.

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