Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Influence of Intramineral Proteins on the Growth of Carbonate Crystals Using as a Scaffold Membranes of Ratite Birds and Crocodiles Eggshells

The lack of information on structural basis where proteins are involved, as well as the biomineralization processes of different systems such as bones, diatom frustules, and eggshells, have intrigued scientists from different fields for decades. This scientific curiosity has led to the use of methodologies that help understand the mechanism involved in the formation of these complex structures. Therefore, this work focuses on the use of eggshell membranes from different species of ratites (emu and ostrich) and reptiles (two species of crocodiles) as a model to differentiate biocalcification and biosilicification by introducing calcium phosphate or silica inside the membrane fiber mantles. We performed this to obtain information about the process of eggshell formation as well as the changes that occur in the membrane during crystal formation. In order to identify and understand the early processes leading to the formation of the microstructures present in the eggshell, we decided to carry out the synthesis of silica-carbonate of calcium, barium, and strontium called biomorph in the presence of intramineral proteins. This was carried out to evaluate the influence of these proteins on the formation of specific structures. We found that the proteins on untreated membranes, present a structural growth similar to those observed in the inner part of the eggshell, while in treated membranes, the structures formed present a high similarity with those observed in the outer and intermediate part of the eggshell. Finally, a topographic and molecular analysis of the biomorphs and membranes was performed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Raman and Fourier-transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopies.

Membranes (Basel)
Impact factor
Elejalde-Cadena, Nerith R.;Hernandez, Denisse; Capitelli, Francesco; Islas, Selene R.; Rosales-Hoz, Maria J.; Zema, Michele; Tarantino, Serena C.; Siliqi, Dritan* and Moreno, Abel*