Inorganic Elements in Biochemistry

Volume 54 of the series Structure and Bonding pp 125-174


Mineralization in biological systems

  • Stephen MannAffiliated withInorganic Chemistry Laboratory

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The major solid state principles involved in mineralization in biological systems are discussed. Three major biological control factors of mineralization are described; structural, spatial, and chemical control. Factors determining nucleation on organic surfaces, mineral growth, mineral structure, and morphology are reported. Oriented growth of minerals on organic matrices can occur by three processes; (i) lattice matching (epitaxis) between the organic matrix and depositing crystal faces, (ii) surface structural relationships between the organic matrix and depositing crystal faces, (iii) ordered aggregation of preformed mineral particles. Several a priori reasons indicate that epitaxis is unlikely to be a major process of oriented growth in biomineralization. The presence and importance of biogenic amorphous minerals is also described.