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Zeitschrift für Kristallographie - Crystalline Materials

Editor-in-Chief: Pöttgen, Rainer

Ed. by Antipov, Evgeny / Boldyreva, Elena V. / Friese, Karen / Huppertz, Hubert / Jahn, Sandro / Tiekink, E. R. T.

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Volume 227, Issue 11


The multiple effects of amino acids on the early stages of calcium carbonate crystallization

Andreas Picker / Matthias Kellermeier / Jong Seto / Denis Gebauer / Helmut Cölfen
Published Online: 2012-10-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/zkri.2012.1569


Proteins have found their way into many of Nature’s structures due to their structural stability, diversity in function and composition, and ability to be regulated as well as be regulators themselves. In this study, we investigate the constitutive amino acids that make up some of these proteins which are involved in CaCO3 mineralization – either in nucleation, crystal growth, or inhibition processes. By assaying all 20 amino acids with vapor diffusion and in situ potentiometric titration, we have found specific amino acids having multiple effects on the early stages of CaCO3 crystallization. These same amino acids have been independently implicated as constituents in liquid-like precursors that form mineralized tissues, processes believed to be key effects of biomineralization proteins in several biological model systems.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: Calcium carbonate; Amino acids; Nucleation; Crystal growth; Prenucleation clusters

About the article

* Correspondence address: University of Konstanz, Physical Chemistry, Universitätsstrasse 10, Box 714, 78457 Konstanz, Deutschland,

Published Online: 2012-10-15

Published in Print: 2012-11-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Kristallographie - Crystalline Materials, Volume 227, Issue 11, Pages 744–757, ISSN (Print) 2194-4946, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/zkri.2012.1569.

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