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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(12), 23604-23615;

Nano-Scale Spatial Assessment of Calcium Distribution in Coccolithophores Using Synchrotron-Based Nano-CT and STXM-NEXAFS

Department of Geological and Mineral Engineering, Key Laboratory of Solid Waste Treatment and Resource Recycle & Fundamental Science on Nuclear Waste and Environmental Security Laboratory, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang 621010, China
State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Microorganism Application and Risk Control (SMARC), Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 October 2014 / Revised: 8 December 2014 / Accepted: 9 December 2014 / Published: 18 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Materials Science)
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Calcified coccolithophores generate calcium carbonate scales around their cell surface. In light of predicted climate change and the global carbon cycle, the biomineralization ability of coccoliths has received growing interest. However, the underlying biomineralization mechanism is not yet well understood; the lack of non-invasive characterizing tools to obtain molecular level information involving biogenic processes and biomineral components remain significant challenges. In the present study, synchrotron-based Nano-computed Tomography (Nano-CT) and Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy-Near-edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure Spectromicroscopy (STXM-NEXAFS) techniques were employed to identify Ca spatial distribution and investigate the compositional chemistry and distinctive features of the association between biomacromolecules and mineral components of calcite present in coccoliths. The Nano-CT results show that the coccolith scale vesicle is similar as a continuous single channel. The mature coccoliths were intracellularly distributed and immediately ejected and located at the exterior surface to form a coccoshpere. The NEXAFS spectromicroscopy results of the Ca L edge clearly demonstrate the existence of two levels of gradients spatially, indicating two distinctive forms of Ca in coccoliths: a crystalline-poor layer surrounded by a relatively crystalline-rich layer. The results show that Sr is absorbed by the coccoliths and that Sr/Ca substitution is rather homogeneous within the coccoliths. Our findings indicate that synchrotron-based STXM-NEXAFS and Nano-CT are excellent tools for the study of biominerals and provide information to clarify biomineralization mechanism. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomineralization; Nano-CT; STXM-NEXAFS; geobiology; coccolithophores biomineralization; Nano-CT; STXM-NEXAFS; geobiology; coccolithophores

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Sun, S.; Yao, Y.; Zou, X.; Fan, S.; Zhou, Q.; Dai, Q.; Dong, F.; Liu, M.; Nie, X.; Tan, D.; Li, S. Nano-Scale Spatial Assessment of Calcium Distribution in Coccolithophores Using Synchrotron-Based Nano-CT and STXM-NEXAFS. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15, 23604-23615.

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