Special Issue "Crystallization Under Special and Physical Environments"

A special issue of Crystals (ISSN 2073-4352). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomolecular Crystals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 September 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Abel Moreno

Instituto de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Av. Universidad 3000, Cd.Mx. 04510, Mexico
Website | E-Mail
Interests: protein crystals; biocrystals; crystal growth; protein crystallography; crystal chemistry; biomineralization; biomimetics; biological macromolecules

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Currently, there are powerful experimental techniques for the 3D structure determination of biological macromolecules (proteins, nucleic acids, polysaccharides and their macromolecular complexes). Particularly, X-ray crystallography is one of the most important techniques in this field. This technique can reach quasi-atomic resolution in the most favorable cases. For this approach, the size and complexity of the system are not a priori limitations and this only requires high-quality single crystals.

This Special Issue on “Crystallization Under Special and Physical Environments” will not only include fundamentals for understanding the physical or chemical aspects of the crystallization process, but will also include advanced techniques for controlling the size and orientation through the utilization of electric and magnetic fields and other special environments (hydrogels, organogels, lipid cubic phases, etc.). The third part will include the crystallization of inorganic and organic compounds and proteins grown in special biological conditions, where the use of microorganisms produce crystals inside specialized cells (idioblast) that contains biforine cells that form crystals. Finally, the new trends in crystallography using techniques recently coined as the serial crystallography of macromolecular complexes (Free-lectron Lasers, XFEL) will be shortly discussed in terms of preparing nanocrystals for injection into the XFEL facilities.

Prof. Dr. Abel Moreno
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Role of Calcium and Strontium as the Most Dominant Elements during Combinations of Different Alkaline Earth Metals in the Synthesis of Crystalline Silica-Carbonate Biomorphs
Crystals 2019, 9(8), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst9080381
Received: 22 June 2019 / Revised: 16 July 2019 / Accepted: 22 July 2019 / Published: 24 July 2019
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Abstract
The origin of life from the chemical point of view is an intriguing and fascinating topic, and is of continuous interest. Currently, the chemical elements that are part of the different cellular types from microorganisms to higher organisms have been described. However, although [...] Read more.
The origin of life from the chemical point of view is an intriguing and fascinating topic, and is of continuous interest. Currently, the chemical elements that are part of the different cellular types from microorganisms to higher organisms have been described. However, although science has advanced in this context, it has not been elucidated yet which were the first chemical elements that gave origin to the first primitive cells, nor how evolution eliminated or incorporated other chemical elements to give origin to other types of cells through evolution. Calcium, barium, and strontium silica-carbonates have been obtained in vitro and named biomorphs, because they mimic living organism structures. Therefore, it is considered that these forms can resemble the first structures that were part of primitive organisms. Hence, the objective of this work was to synthesize biomorphs starting with different mixtures of alkaline earth metals—beryllium (Be2+), magnesium (Mg2+), calcium (Ca2+), barium (Ba2+), and strontium (Sr2+)—in the presence of nucleic acids, RNA and genomic DNA (gDNA). Our results allow us to infer that the stability of calcium followed by strontium had played an important role in the evolution of life since the Precambrian era until our current age. In this way, the presence of these two chemical elements as well as silica (in the primitive life) and some organic molecules give origin to a great variety of life forms, in which calcium is the most common dominating element in many living organisms as we know nowadays. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crystallization Under Special and Physical Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Pyruvic Acid and UV Radiation on the Morphology of Silica-carbonate Crystalline Biomorphs
Crystals 2019, 9(2), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst9020067
Received: 18 December 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 27 January 2019 / Published: 28 January 2019
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Abstract
In this work we report the effect of introducing pyruvic acid (PA) in the growing process of silica-carbonate biomorphs. Gas-diffusion and single-phase methods were performed, and different concentrations of pyruvic acid were tested. Moreover, influence of UV radiation on the morphogenesis of the [...] Read more.
In this work we report the effect of introducing pyruvic acid (PA) in the growing process of silica-carbonate biomorphs. Gas-diffusion and single-phase methods were performed, and different concentrations of pyruvic acid were tested. Moreover, influence of UV radiation on the morphogenesis of the samples was analyzed. Since PA decomposes in CO2 and other compounds under UV radiation, here we demonstrate that PA decomposition enables a source of carbonate ions to induce the precipitation of silica-carbonate biomorphs in absence of environmental CO2. We also found that high concentrations [0.5 M] of PA inhibit the formation of biomorphs, while lower concentrations [0.01 M] results in common life-like structures. However [0.1 M] of PA provokes the precipitation of carbonates of alkaline earth metals in non-usual crystalline habits, i.e., semi-spherical smoothed shapes sized between 10 and 70 µm and homogeneously growth on a glass substrate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crystallization Under Special and Physical Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis of Bimetallic Nanoparticles of Cd4HgS5 by Candida Species
Crystals 2019, 9(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst9020061
Received: 19 December 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2019 / Accepted: 19 January 2019 / Published: 24 January 2019
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Abstract
In recent decades, it has been demonstrated that bimetallic nanoparticles (NPs) possess a number of advantages over monometallic NPs, as the combination of metals results in important changes to their physicochemical properties. Synthesis of bimetallic NPs can be achieved through a number of [...] Read more.
In recent decades, it has been demonstrated that bimetallic nanoparticles (NPs) possess a number of advantages over monometallic NPs, as the combination of metals results in important changes to their physicochemical properties. Synthesis of bimetallic NPs can be achieved through a number of methods, yet there are serious difficulties in controlling these protocols. Biological methods based on the use of microorganisms exhibit important advantages over traditional methods, which makes the search for organisms such as bacteria, yeast and fungi endowed with these abilities an important task. In this context, it has been found that Candida species are able to biosynthesize monometallic NPs, but their ability to form bimetallic NPs has not been investigated. CdHgS is a bimetallic NP of special interest, as it has been found useful in a number of applications; however, its preparation by traditional methods poses certain limitations, and the ability to obtain it through biological procedures has never been demonstrated. With this in mind, the major purpose of this study is to evaluate whether several Candida species were able to synthesize bimetallic NPs of CdHgS in a Cd4HgS5 phase. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the biological synthesis of bimetallic NPs in Candida species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crystallization Under Special and Physical Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Characterization of a Monoclinic Crystalline Phase of Hydroxyapatite by Synchrotron X-ray Powder Diffraction and Piezoresponse Force Microscopy
Crystals 2018, 8(12), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst8120458
Received: 20 November 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 6 December 2018 / Published: 8 December 2018
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Abstract
In this work, we report the synthesis of a monoclinic hydroxyapatite [Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2] (hereafter called HA) prepared by the sol-gel method assisted by ultrasound radiation at room temperature. The characterization of both the monoclinic and the [...] Read more.
In this work, we report the synthesis of a monoclinic hydroxyapatite [Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2] (hereafter called HA) prepared by the sol-gel method assisted by ultrasound radiation at room temperature. The characterization of both the monoclinic and the hexagonal phases were performed by powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) and using synchrotron radiation (SR). The measurement of the piezoelectricity was performed by piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM). The synthesis produced a mixture of monoclinic and hexagonal hydroxyapatite (HA). We also discuss the importance of stabilizing the monoclinic phase at room temperature with ultrasound irradiation. The existence of the monoclinic phase has important advantages in terms of showing piezoelectric properties for applications in the new medical rehabilitation therapies. Rietveld refinement of the PXRD data from SR indicated the monoclinic phase to be of about 81%. Finally, piezoelectric force microscopy was used to distinguish the phases of hydroxyapatite by measuring the average piezoelectric coefficient deff = 10.8 pm/V. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crystallization Under Special and Physical Environments)
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