BiomineralisationBiomineralisation is the ability of living animals and plants to produce minerals of often complex architecture. Mussel shells, pearls, teeth, earstones of fish (otoliths) or corals, for example, are products of biomineralisation processes. Biominerals are composite materials consisting of both inorganic and organic components with unique morphologies and material properties. The organic part contains macromolecules (highly specialized proteins and enzymes) that control the mineralization and chemical composition of the inorganic material according to a genetic structural design.
Throughout Earth's history, biominerals often are the only remaining witnesses of life.
Therefore, in order to understand the evolution of life and to reconstruct its environment, we critically rely on the fossil record and the information it provides. To read this record correctly, it is of paramount importance to improve our understanding of the mechanisms controlling the mineralization. The Biomineralisation group at the Department of Geosciences collaborates with groups from palaeontology, palaeoclimatology, molecular and cell biology, analytical chemistry and anthropology to study basic as well as applied aspects in this field.
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