Biominerals at the nanoscale: transmission electron microscopy methods for studying the special properties of biominerals

Mihaly Posfai, Takeshi Kasama, Rafal E. Dunin-Borkowski

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Biominerals have important functions in living organisms: apatite crystals are responsible for the strength of our bones and the hardness of our teeth, calcite and aragonite are used by many organisms for making shells, and magnetite and greigite help bacteria and birds to navigate in magnetic fields. In order to fulfill their roles in organisms, biominerals have strictly controlled physical and chemical properties. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is ideally suited for the study of the structures, arrangements, compositions, morphologies, crystallographic orientations, crystallographic textures, and magnetic properties of biominerals at the nanoscale. In this chapter, we review the state of the art in the application of TEM techniques to the study of these properties, both in biomineral crystals and at the inorganic-organic interface. Examples are taken primarily from studies of magnetic minerals that form in the cells of magnetotactic bacteria.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMinerals at the Nanoscale
    EditorsF. Nieto, K.J.T. Livi
    PublisherEuropean Mineralogical Union
    Publication date2013
    Pages375-433
    ISBN (Print)978-0-903056-34-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    SeriesEMU Notes in Mineralogy
    Volume14
    ISSN1417-2917

    Cite this

    Posfai, M., Kasama, T., & Dunin-Borkowski, R. E. (2013). Biominerals at the nanoscale: transmission electron microscopy methods for studying the special properties of biominerals. In F. Nieto, & K. J. T. Livi (Eds.), Minerals at the Nanoscale (pp. 375-433). European Mineralogical Union. EMU Notes in Mineralogy, Vol.. 14