Silicon in Life: Whither Biological Silicification?
- 1.5k Downloads
In my opinion, the last decade or so has seen a golden era of research into the many facets of biological silicification. The contents of this volume are testimony to recent advances in the field (Müller and Grachev 2008). The successes should be carried through into the next 10 years during which time the processes involved in the biomineralisation of silica ought to become as well understood as they are for calcium and iron-based biominerals. Of course, the reason why progress in biological silicification has been relatively slow is an apparent lack of appropriate chemistry to explain myriad forms of seemingly diverse examples of the deposition of silica in biota. In this Chapter, the title of which is a paraphrase of Voronkov et al.'s great work, Silicon and Life (1975), I have tried to provide plau sible bioinorganic solutions to biological silicification. Ideas are presented in the context of the evolution of biological silicification and are discussed, in the main, naively without specific reference to published research which might either refute or support their validity. (This serves as an apology to the many excellent scientists whose work has not been but should have been cited!) I hope the ideas presented herein demonstrate that, rather than acting as a barrier to understanding biologi cal silicification, the limited, biologically significant, chemistry of silicic acid is actually sufficient to act as a platform for future research in the field.
KeywordsSilicic Acid Amorphous Silica Biochemical Evolution Diffusive Gradient Biological Availability
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Aston SR (Ed.) (1983) Silicon geochemistry and biogeochemistry. Academic, New York, 248p.Google Scholar
- Birchall JD (1990) The role of silicon in biology. Chem. Britain Feb. 141–144.Google Scholar
- Evered D, O'Connor M (Eds) (1986) Silicon biochemistry. Ciba Found. Symp. 121, 264p.Google Scholar
- Fraústo da Silva JJR, Williams RJP (1991) The biological chemistry of the elements. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 561p.Google Scholar
- Iler RK (1979) The chemistry of silica. Wiley-Interscience, New York, 866p.Google Scholar
- Müller WEG, Grachev MA (Eds) (2008) Potential of biosilica in evolution, morphogenesis and nanobiotechnology: Case study Lake Baikal (in press).Google Scholar
- Perry CC (2008) An overview of silica in biology, its chemistry and recent technological advances. In Müller WEG, Grachev MA (Eds) Potential of biosilica in evolution, morphogenesis and nanobiotechnology: Case study Lake Baikal (in press).Google Scholar
- Voronkov MG, Zelchan GI, Lukevitz EY (1975) Silizium und Leben, transl. by K. Rühlmann, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin, 370p.Google Scholar
- Werner D (Ed.) (1977) The biology of diatoms. Botanical Monographs Volume 13, Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, 498p.Google Scholar
- Williams RJP, Fraústo da Silva JJR (1996) The natural selection of the chemical elements. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 646p.Google Scholar