Special Issue "Biominerals and Bio-Inspired Materials"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomineralization and Biominerals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 26 August 2022 | Viewed by 4278

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Linus Stegbauer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Interfacial Process Engineering and Plasmatechnology IGVP, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
Interests: biomineralization; bio-inspired materials; material chemistry; nanocomposites; responsive materials
Dr. Anne Jantschke
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Geosciences, Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Mainz, Germany
Interests: biomineralization; microalgae; biomaterials; organic crystals; spectroscopy
Dr. Fabio Nudelman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
EaSTCHEM, School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, David Brewster Road, Edinburgh EH9 3FJ, UK
Interests: Biogenic minerals, organic-inorganic hybrid materials, protein-crystal interactions, (cryo)electron microscopy, soft matter
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Organisms demonstrate unrivaled control over the structure and properties of hierarchical, mineralized tissues with functions that range from mechanical support to the manipulation of light, and from the sensing of gravity and magnetic fields to chemical storage and detoxification. An organic matrix typically plays an integral role in both the formation of the composite tissues and in modulating critical material properties in the final material. During formation, organic matrix molecules are involved in controlling phase transformations (e.g., the selective formation of metastable amorphous mineral precursors and their conversion to specific crystalline polymorphs), with highly sophisticated control over the location, orientation, and shape of the inorganic component. Having found ways to manipulate solid phases at length scales from the atomic to the macroscopic, organisms are capable of feats that elude our most sophisticated syntheses. They can create hierarchical graded materials, shape single crystals with curved rather than faceted interfaces, or generate composites that are both fracture resistant and self-sharpening. Biomineralization provides a template for much milder, environmentally sustainable (‘green’) conditions as well. It is therefore not an exaggeration to say that there remains much that we can learn by investigating biomineralization processes toward the aim of bringing us one step closer to a more competitive low-carbon economy. Improving our understanding of biological ‘bottom up’ synthetic mechanisms is likely to impact any materials synthesis that involves inorganic/organic interfaces, including nanomaterials and structural materials as well as biomaterials. The investigation of human biomineralization is crucial to the treatment and prevention of common illnesses such as tooth caries and osteoporosis.

There are still unresolved questions about the factors that control the formation and growth of biominerals and how these principles can be transferred to the synthesis of materials. This Special Issue is an opportunity for the collection of state-of-the-art studies on i) new analytical approaches to characterize biominerals and their formation in humans, animals, plants, and microbes; ii) the resolution of structure–property relationships; and iii) the development of bioinspired materials.

We seek contributions from diverse approaches and perspectives, such as direct observation, molecular-scale insights into nucleation and growth, in vitro precipitation experiments, in vivo studies of biomineral-producing organisms, and inference from natural archives.

Dr. Linus Stegbaue
Dr. Anne Jantschke
Dr. Fabio Nudelman
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biomineralization
  • biomimetic and bioinspired mineralization
  • crystallization mechanisms
  • composite materials
  • structure–property relationships
  • analytical characterization techniques
  • biomineralization in paleontology and evolution

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Major and Trace Elements in Human Kidney Stones: A Preliminary Investigation in Beijing, China
Minerals 2022, 12(5), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12050512 - 21 Apr 2022
Viewed by 519
Abstract
Kidney stone disease affects people globally, with its prevalence on the rise. Given the importance of elements’ function in formation of kidney stones, this study investigated major and trace element content in thirty kidney stone samples from patients in Beijing. The kidney stone [...] Read more.
Kidney stone disease affects people globally, with its prevalence on the rise. Given the importance of elements’ function in formation of kidney stones, this study investigated major and trace element content in thirty kidney stone samples from patients in Beijing. The kidney stone samples included inorganic components (calcium oxalate and carbonate apatite) and organic components (uric acid). Results showed that Ca is much higher in inorganic components than organic components. Compared to inorganic components, uric acid has a very low content of elements except for Cu and Se, which may be derived from the liver. Carbonate apatite stones have a higher element content (such as Na, K, Sr, Zn, Rb, Ba, Li, and Ti) than calcium oxalate stones, especially enrichment of Mg. The principal components analysis (PCA) extracted three principal components (PCs) with total variances of 91.91%, including the PC1 (45.08%): Na-Li-Ti-Ba-Sr-Zn, PC2 (30.05%): Rb, K, Mg, and PC3 (16.78%): Cu-Se, indicating that there are co-precipitated processes of these elements by their specific properties. A different distribution of stone types in the three components indicates a significant discrepancy in their element content, which can be an essential reference for patient intake elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biominerals and Bio-Inspired Materials)
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Article
Strong Coupling between Biomineral Morphology and Sr/Ca of Arctica islandica (Bivalvia)—Implications for Shell Sr/Ca-Based Temperature Estimates
Minerals 2022, 12(5), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12050500 - 19 Apr 2022
Viewed by 748
Abstract
Bivalve shells serve as powerful high-resolution paleoclimate archives. However, the number of reliable temperature proxies is limited. It has remained particularly difficult to extract temperature signals from shell Sr/Ca, although Sr is routinely employed in other biogenic aragonites. In bivalves, Sr/Ca is linked [...] Read more.
Bivalve shells serve as powerful high-resolution paleoclimate archives. However, the number of reliable temperature proxies is limited. It has remained particularly difficult to extract temperature signals from shell Sr/Ca, although Sr is routinely employed in other biogenic aragonites. In bivalves, Sr/Ca is linked to the prevailing microstructure and is sometimes affected by kinetics. Here, the hypothesis is tested that temperature can be reconstructed from shell Sr/Ca once microstructure and/or growth-rate-related bias has been mathematically eliminated. Therefore, the relationship between Sr/Ca and increment width, as well as biomineral unit size, has been studied in three different shell portions of field-grown Arctica islandica specimens. Subsequently, microstructure and/or growth-rate-related variation was removed from Sr/Ca data and residuals compared to temperature. As demonstrated, the hypothesis could not be verified. Even after detrending, Sr/Ca remained positively correlated to water temperature, which contradicts thermodynamic expectations and findings from inorganic aragonite. Any temperature signal potentially recorded by shell Sr/Ca is overprinted by other environmental forcings. Unless these variables are identified, it will remain impossible to infer temperature from Sr/Ca. Given the coupling with the biomineral unit size, a detailed characterization of the microstructure should remain an integral part of subsequent attempts to reconstruct temperature from Sr/Ca. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biominerals and Bio-Inspired Materials)
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Article
Columnar Structure of Claw Denticles in the Coconut Crab, Birgus latro
Minerals 2022, 12(2), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12020274 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 500
Abstract
Some decapod crustaceans have tooth-like white denticles that exist only on the pinching side of claws. We revealed the denticle microstructure in the coconut crab, Birgus latro, using optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and a focused [...] Read more.
Some decapod crustaceans have tooth-like white denticles that exist only on the pinching side of claws. We revealed the denticle microstructure in the coconut crab, Birgus latro, using optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and a focused ion beam (FIB)-SEM. Three-dimensional analysis and fracture surface observation were performed in order to clarify the microstructural differences in two mineralized layers—the exocuticle and the endocuticle. The denticles consist of a columnar structure normal to the surface and are covered with a very thin epicuticle and an exocuticle with a twisted plywood pattern structure. Due to abrasion, the exocuticle layer was lost in the wide area above the large denticles; conversely, these layers remained on the surface of the relatively small denticles and on the base of the denticle. The results showed that the mineralized exoskeleton of the crab’s claw is classified into three structures: a twisted plywood pattern structure stacked parallel to the surface for the exocuticle, a porous structure with many regularly arranged pores vertical to the surface for the endocuticle, and a columnar structure vertical to the surface for the denticle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biominerals and Bio-Inspired Materials)
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Article
The Role of Aragonite in Producing the Microstructural Diversity of Serpulid Skeletons
Minerals 2021, 11(12), 1435; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11121435 - 18 Dec 2021
Viewed by 840
Abstract
Aragonite plays an important role in the biomineralization of serpulid polychaetes. Aragonitic structures are present in a wide range of serpulid species, but they mostly belong to one clade. Aragonitic structures are present in a wide range of marine environments, including the deep [...] Read more.
Aragonite plays an important role in the biomineralization of serpulid polychaetes. Aragonitic structures are present in a wide range of serpulid species, but they mostly belong to one clade. Aragonitic structures are present in a wide range of marine environments, including the deep ocean. Aragonitic tube microstructures were studied using a scanning electron microscope. X-ray powder diffraction was used to identify the aragonite. Aragonite is used to build five different types of microstructures in serpulid tubes. The most common aragonitic irregularly oriented prismatic structure (AIOP) is also, evolutionarily, the most primitive. Some aragonitic microstructures, such as the spherulitic prismatic (SPHP) structure, have likely evolved from the AIOP structure. Aragonitic microstructures in serpulids are far less numerous than calcitic microstructures, and they lack the complexity of advanced calcitic microstructures. The reason why aragonitic microstructures have remained less evolvable than calcitic microstructures is currently unknown, considering their fit with the current aragonite sea conditions (Paleogene–recent). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biominerals and Bio-Inspired Materials)
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Article
Preliminary Data on Geochemical Characteristics of Major and Trace Elements in Typical Biominerals: From the Perspective of Human Kidney Stones
Minerals 2021, 11(12), 1396; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11121396 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 987
Abstract
The chemical composition of biominerals is essential for understanding biomineral formation and is regarded as an attractive subject in bio-mineralogical research on human kidney stones (urinary calculi). In order to obtain more geochemically interpreted data on biogenic minerals, mineralogical compositions and major and [...] Read more.
The chemical composition of biominerals is essential for understanding biomineral formation and is regarded as an attractive subject in bio-mineralogical research on human kidney stones (urinary calculi). In order to obtain more geochemically interpreted data on biogenic minerals, mineralogical compositions and major and trace element concentrations of sixty-six kidney stone samples derived from kidney stone removal surgeries were measured. Infrared spectroscopy results showed that calcium oxalate monohydrate (COM) and calcium oxalate dihydrate (COD) were the two main mineral components of kidney stones. Geochemical results indicated that major and trace element concentrations were present in the following order: Ca > Mg > Na > K > Zn > Fe > Pb > Ba > Cu > Ti > Mo > Cd > Cr. With the exception of Ca, Mg was the second-most abundant element. Zn exhibited higher concentrations relative to other trace elements, which suggests a potential substitution of calcium by metal ions with a similar charge and radius rather than by metals in kidney stone formation. Pb appeared in significantly higher concentrations than in previous studies, which indicates Pb enrichment in the environment. In order to discern multi-element relationships within kidney stones, principal component analysis was applied. Three principal components (PCs, eigenvalues >1) were extracted to explain 64.4% of the total variance. The first component exhibited positively correlated Na-Zn-Cr-Mo-Cd-Pb, while the second component exhibited more positively weighted Mg-K-Ba-Ti. Fe-Cu demonstrated a positive correlation in the third component. This study suggests that Ca exhibits a preference for uptake by oxalates during human urinary stone crystallization, while other alkali metals and alkaline earth metals precipitate with phosphate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biominerals and Bio-Inspired Materials)
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