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Studies of biominerals and related novel nanoscale composite materials

Webb, J., Brooker, L.R., Nesterova, M.V., Lee, A.P., Chua‐anusorn, W., Macey, D.J. and St Pierre, T.G. (1997) Studies of biominerals and related novel nanoscale composite materials. South African Journal of Chemistry, 50 (4). pp. 195-202.


Biomineralised structures are composite materials formed in diverse biological systems. Their composition, distribution and functions are described together with several technological applications. Illustrative examples include the use of coral in reconstructive surgery and the development of flexible macro-defect-free concrete. Recent studies of biomineralisation in the chiton Cryptoplax striata have further extended understanding of the initial stages of iron biomineral formation, a prominent feature of radula teeth structure in the marine molluscs, chitons and limpets. In the marine gastropod Nerita atramentosa, a novel motif of tooth structure is reported, where granules (300 nm - 1.5 μm) are embedded in the organic matrix. Further studies of biomineralisation at the nanoscale level, utilising the hollow spherical protein ferritin and several polysaccharides, reveal the nanotechnological possibilities of such research, creating varied multi-layered nanocomposites and extended arrays.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: South African Bureau for Scientific Publications
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