Organic membranes determine the pattern of the columnar prismatic layer of mollusc shells

Checa, Antonio G. and Macias-Sanchez, Elena and Harper, Elizabeth M. and Cartwright, Julyan (2014) Organic membranes determine the pattern of the columnar prismatic layer of mollusc shells. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, 283. ISSN 0950-1193 DOI 10.1098/rspb.2016.0032

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Abstract

The degree to which biological control is exercised compared to physical control of the organization of biogenic materials is a central theme in biomineralization. We show that the outlines of biogenic calcite domains with organic membranes are always of simple geometries, while without they are much more complex. Moreover, the mineral prisms enclosed within the organic membranes are frequently polycrystalline. In the prismatic layer of the mollusc shell, organic membranes display a dynamics in accordance with the von Neumann–Mullins and Lewis Laws for two-dimensional foam, emulsion and grain growth. Taken together with the facts that we found instances in which the crystals do not obey such laws, and that the same organic membrane pattern can be found even without the mineral infilling, our work indicates that it is the membranes, not the mineral prisms, that control the pattern, and the mineral enclosed within the organic membranes passively adjusts to the dynamics dictated by the latter.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2016AREP; IA71;
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
08 - Green Open Access
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B
Volume: 283
Identification Number: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0032
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2016 14:15
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2017 10:54
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/3768

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