Mechanism of Calcite Co-Orientation in the Sea Urchin Tooth

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Sea urchin teeth are remarkable and complex calcite structures, continuously growing at the forming end and self-sharpening at the mature grinding tip. The calcite (CaCO{sub 3}) crystals of tooth components, plates, fibers, and a high-Mg polycrystalline matrix, have highly co-oriented crystallographic axes. This ability to co-orient calcite in a mineralized structure is shared by all echinoderms. However, the physico-chemical mechanism by which calcite crystals become co-oriented in echinoderms remains enigmatic. Here, we show differences in calcite c-axis orientations in the tooth of the purple sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus), using high-resolution X-ray photoelectron emission spectromicroscopy (X-PEEM) and microbeam X-ray diffraction ({mu}XRD). ... continued below

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Killian, Christopher; Metzler, Rebecca; Gong, Y. U. T.; Olson, Ian; Aizenberg, Joanna; Politi, Yael et al. December 1, 2009.

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Sea urchin teeth are remarkable and complex calcite structures, continuously growing at the forming end and self-sharpening at the mature grinding tip. The calcite (CaCO{sub 3}) crystals of tooth components, plates, fibers, and a high-Mg polycrystalline matrix, have highly co-oriented crystallographic axes. This ability to co-orient calcite in a mineralized structure is shared by all echinoderms. However, the physico-chemical mechanism by which calcite crystals become co-oriented in echinoderms remains enigmatic. Here, we show differences in calcite c-axis orientations in the tooth of the purple sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus), using high-resolution X-ray photoelectron emission spectromicroscopy (X-PEEM) and microbeam X-ray diffraction ({mu}XRD). All plates share one crystal orientation, propagated through pillar bridges, while fibers and polycrystalline matrix share another orientation. Furthermore, in the forming end of the tooth, we observe that CaCO{sub 3} is present as amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC). We demonstrate that co-orientation of the nanoparticles in the polycrystalline matrix occurs via solid-state secondary nucleation, propagating out from the previously formed fibers and plates, into the amorphous precursor nanoparticles. Because amorphous precursors were observed in diverse biominerals, solid-state secondary nucleation is likely to be a general mechanism for the co-orientation of biomineral components in organisms from different phyla.

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  • Journal Name: JACS; Journal Volume: 131; Journal Issue: 51

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  • Report No.: LBNL-3524E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.1021/ja907063z | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 983508
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1014542

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  • December 1, 2009

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  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Oct. 18, 2017, 10:33 a.m.

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Killian, Christopher; Metzler, Rebecca; Gong, Y. U. T.; Olson, Ian; Aizenberg, Joanna; Politi, Yael et al. Mechanism of Calcite Co-Orientation in the Sea Urchin Tooth, article, December 1, 2009; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1014542/: accessed December 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.