1932

Abstract

A crystallization pathway describes the movement of ions from their source to the final product. Cells are intimately involved in biological crystallization pathways. In many pathways the cells utilize a unique strategy: They temporarily concentrate ions in intracellular membrane-bound vesicles in the form of a highly disordered solid phase. This phase is then transported to the final mineralization site, where it is destabilized and crystallizes. We present four case studies, each of which demonstrates specific aspects of biological crystallization pathways: seawater uptake by foraminifera, calcite spicule formation by sea urchin larvae, goethite formation in the teeth of limpets, and guanine crystal formation in fish skin and spider cuticles. Three representative crystallization pathways are described, and aspects of the different stages of crystallization are discussed. An in-depth understanding of these complex processes can lead to new ideas for synthetic crystallization processes of interest to materials science.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-matsci-062910-095803
2011-08-04
2024-06-21
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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