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Biominerals - source and inspiration for novel advanced materials

Webb, J., Evans, L.A., St Pierre, T.G. and Macey, D.J. (1991) Biominerals - source and inspiration for novel advanced materials. Search, 22 (4). pp. 137-139.

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Biomineralization seems an odd sort of word. How can you combine biology and minerals? However, a quick look around brings to light many familiar objects that are examples of biominerals. Most dramatic are the coral reefs and sea shells of the marine environment (calcium carbonate) and human bone and teeth (calcium hydroxyapatite) but there are many other examples. In the past 10 years, an increasing number of biominerals has been reported (Table 1). Interest in the biological and chemical processes that lead to biomineralization, howeyer, has only developed rather recently. Early observations were made by paleontologists who were interested in the preservation, through geological time, of the hard parts of organisms such as shells and skeletons but only in 1989 did the field really come of age with the almost simultaneous publication of three monographs covering current knowledge of the biological, biochemical, chemical and taxonomic aspects of biomineralization (Mann et al. 1989; Lowenstam & Weiner 1989; Simkiss & Wilbur 1989).

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Australian & New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science
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