Biomineralization Sourcebook

Biomineralization Sourcebook: Characterization of Biominerals and Biomimetic Materials

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  • Provides a comprehensive, practical overview of the characterization method for biominerals and biomimetic materials
  • Discusses the advantages, limitations, applications, and key challenges of each approach
  • Covers state-of-the-art protocols, analysis, software, instrumentation, and computational methods
  • Introduces basic concepts of structure, imaging, chemical identity, function and in biomimetic model systems
  • Explains how the techniques elucidate structure/function understanding


What does it mean to be at the forefront of a characterization technique? Novel implementation and research, finding new ways to visualize composites, and new techniques all play a role. Yet with the myriad of advances in the field, keeping up with new and advanced techniques, often from many different areas, has become a challenge. Biomineralization Sourcebook: Characterization of Biominerals and Biomimetic Materials emphasizes the interplay between multiple techniques at their current frontiers and explores how such studies may be carried out.

The book addresses atomic and molecular structure: how it is described, detected, and assessed for importance. It then highlights additional measurements especially well-suited to looking at two- and three-dimensional systems with heterogeneous, if not hierarchical, structure. These systems enable particular aspects of biominerals and biomimetic models to be scrutinized. The text presents state-of-the-art methods to assess properties of the composite, and represents current approaches and aspirations to measuring entire biological working structures while retaining as much fine-grained biophysical information as possible. In all these chapters, authors showcase discoveries from their own programs.

Along the way, the book takes you on a tour from microscopy's eighteenth century roots, to the recent literature and diverse research programs of the contributing investigators, to the multi-million dollar National Laboratory facilities that all play their roles to illuminate the ever-fascinating biominerals. A snapshot of the state of the art in a spectrum of experimental techniques applied to a common interdisciplinary goal, where the ability to use the more advanced techniques often requires funding for collaboration and travel, the book will deepen the appreciation for the massive interdisciplinary effort underway, educate researchers across the field, and motivate new collaborations.

Table of Contents

Characterization of Atomic and Molecular Structure: Diffraction and Scattering
Synchrotron X-Ray Scattering: Probing Structure for the Structure-Function Relationship, Elaine DiMasi
In situ X-ray scattering from molecular templates and nucleating minerals at organic-water interfaces, Benjamin D. Stripe and Pulak Dutta
Electron Backscatter Diffraction for Biomineralization, Maggie Cusack and Peter Chung

Characterization of Atomic and Molecular Structure: Spectroscopy and Spectro-Microscopy
Infrared Spectroscopy and Imaging, Adele L. Boskey, PhD
Raman Spectroscopy in Biomineralization, Karen Esmonde-White and Francis Esmonde-White
Chemical Mapping with X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy, Yannicke Dauphin and Murielle Salomé
Local Structure Development; Characterization of Biominerals Using X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy, Yael Politi and Ivo Zizak
Soft x-Ray Scanning Transmission Spectro-Microscopy, Julie Cosmidis and Karim Benzerara
Photoemission Spectromicroscopy for the Biomineralogist, Pupa U. P. A. Gilbert
Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy: A Tool for Molecular-Level Structure Analysis and Dynamics, Melinda J. Duer
The Realities of Disordered or Unfolded Proteins: Relevance to Biomineralization, John Spencer Evans

Imaging Morphology and Interfaces
Exploring Dynamics at the Biomolecule-Crystal Interface Using Real-Time In Situ Atomic Force Microscopy, S. Roger Qiu
In situ
Atomic Force Microscopy as a tool for investigating assembly of protein matrices, Sungwook Chung and James J. De Yoreo
Transmission Electron Microscopy in Biomineralization Research: Advances and Challenges, Elia Beniash, Archan Dey, and Nico A. J. M. Sommerdijk
X-Ray Computed Tomography, Xianghui Xiao and Stuart R. Stock
SIMS Method and Example of Applications in Coral Biomineralization, Claire Rollion-Bard and Dominique Blamart

Properties of the Composite: Energetics and Forces in Assembly
Molecular Simulation of Biomineral Nucleation And Crystal Growth: Modern Computational Challenges and Approaches, Yang Yang, Zhijun Xu, Qiang Cui, and Nita Sahai
Application of Enhanced Sampling Approaches to the Early Stages of Mineralization, Adam F. Wallace and James J. De Yoreo
Direct Measurement of Interaction Forces and Energies with Proximal Probes, Raymond W. Friddle

Properties of the Composite: Materials Approaches to Tissues and Whole Organs
Measuring Forces between Structural Elements in Composites: From Macromolecules to Bone, Philipp J. Thurner and Orestis L. Katsamenis
Mechanical and Interface Properties of Biominerals: Atomistic to Coarse Grained Modeling, Arun K. Nair, Flavia Libonati, Zhao Qin, Leon S. Dimas, and Markus J. Buehler
Whole Organ Deformation Analysis by Digital Optical Metrology Methods, Paul Zaslansky and Ron Shahar
Illustrating Biodiversity: The Power of an Image, James C. Weaver and Elaine DiMasi

Editor Bio(s)

Elaine DiMasi is a physicist and synchrotron x-ray scattering expert, and has made her career at Brookhaven National Laboratory since 1996. Research for her PhD (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) and postdoctoral appointment (BNL) focused on structure and electronic properties in metallic condensed matter systems. Since 1999 she has investigated numerous aspects of Biomineralization including: mineralization at Langmuir films, assembly and mineralization of extracellular matrix proteins, structures of organics assembled on mineral surfaces, and microbeam diffraction mapping of mineral-organic composites and biological minerals. More recent areas of interest include lipid-mineral interactions and soft X-ray microspectroscopy. DiMasi currently is engaged in building a state of the art synchrotron x-ray scattering facility at the National Synchrotorn Light Source II, dedicated to soft- and bio-materials, specializing in aqueous interfaces, providing the capabilities to measure hierarchical structures of biominerals for a wide range of length scales and in realistic material environments.

Laurie B. Gower is an Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, and supervisor of the Biomimetics Laboratory at the University of Florida. Her Master’s degree from University of Utah was in the area of Bioengineering (1990), and doctoral degree from UMASS at Amherst was in the area of Polymer Science & Engineering (1997). In the latter case, her dissertation was focused on biomineralization, making use of model systems to examine the interactions between polypeptides and crystal growth, and correlating features observed in the in vitro systems to those observed in biominerals. Most of the research in her academic career has continued along these lines of examining potential mechanisms involved in biomineralization. She discovered a novel crystallization process that relies on a polymer-induced liquid-precursor (PILP) phase, and was one of the first to suggest that biominerals might be formed from a hydrated amorphous precursor. She has built a line of evidence to suggest that this polymer-directed crystallization process may play a fundamental role in both calcium carbonate (marine exoskeletons) and calcium phosphate (bones and teeth) biomineralization, as well as calcium oxalate precipitation in kidney stones.

Editorial Reviews

"… a very useful source not only for researchers in the general area of biominerals, but for anyone engaged in the synthesis and analysis of the structure, properties, and applications of hybrid materials. … [It] covers experimental and computational methods over all necessary length scales from the atomic to the macroscopic dimensions, including, for example, whole organ mechanical analysis. … The key importance of the book likely lies in the fact that for the first time in a while, the key experimental techniques for the investigation of hybrid materials have been assembled in one volume."
—MaterialsViews, July 2014

"This sourcebook provides both a background foundation and authoritative descriptions of essentially all of these new approaches [in biomineralization research]. Thus, it will be an indispensable source for advanced students and researchers in the field."
—Grayson W. Marshall, DDS, MPH, PhD, Odont. Dr hc (Malmo), Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Chair, Division of Biomaterials and Bioengineering, University of California, San Francisco

"… provides state-of-the-art information about the characterization of biomineralized materials, and also goes in depth with the practical procedures and inherent difficulties when applying these methods. For this, the book will be particularly useful to students, postdocs, and other researchers entering the field."
—Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c. Peter Fratzl, Director, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces

"… a highly relevant compendium of the most important, currently available analytical techniques used to understand biomineralization processes and the structures they produce."
—Marc D. McKee, Ph.D., James McGill Professor, McGill University

"This handbook [also] includes … many other fantastic techniques that are used for better understanding biomineralization. The collection of all this know-how literally under one cover is an enormous asset for the field."
—From the Foreword by Steve Weiner and Lia Addadi, Department of Structural Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science

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