Insights into chemistry of biological materials: Newly discovered silica-aragonite-chitin biocomposites in demosponges

Hermann Ehrlich, Paul Simon, Wilder Carrillo-Cabrera, Vasily V. Bazhenov, Joseph P. Botting, Micha Ilan, Alexander V. Ereskovsky, Guilherme Muricy, Hartmut Worch, Axel Mensch, René Born, Armin Springer, Kurt Kummer, Denis V. Vyalikh, Serguei L. Molodtsov, Denis Kurek, Martin Kammer, Silvia Paasch, Eike Brunner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Biological materials are a rewarding area of modern materials science, yielding both evolutionary insights and inspiration for biomimetic research. In particular, biocomposite structures are valuable sources of novel structures with unusual chemical properties, and they are very informative for the mechanisms of biomineralization. Here we describe a unique biocomposite of amorphous silica, crystalline aragonite, and chitin from species of the order Verongida, a group of marine sponges. The structures have been analyzed with a diverse suite of techniques, revealing a chitinous template for siliceous overgrowth containing aragonite-based crystal aggregates. Sponge chitin is an example of a specific template where two minerals in amorphous and crystalline forms are formed together with an organic molecule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1462-1471
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry of Materials
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 23 Feb 2010

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