Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > All Decked Out

Abstract:
Networks of chitin filaments are integral components of diatom silica shells

All Decked Out

Posted on December 1st, 2009

A whole microcosm of various bizarrely shaped life forms opens up when you look at diatoms, the primary component of ocean plankton, under a microscope. The regularly structured silica shells of these tiny individual life forms have attracted scientists because they are particularly interesting examples of natural hybrid materials and also demonstrate unusual mechanistic and optical properties. The mechanisms of the underlying biomineralization process are not yet fully understood, but the silica shells often provide inspiration for the synthesis of man-made nanostructures. Researchers at TU Dresden and the Max Planck Institute the Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden have now identified another component of the diatom cell walls. As the team led by Eike Brunner reports in the journal Angewandte Chemie, they found an organic network of crosslinked chitin filaments.

Chitin is a long molecular chain of sugar building blocks, a polysaccharide. It is the second most widespread polysaccharide on Earth after cellulose. In combination with calcium carbonate (lime) and proteins, it forms the shells of insects and crabs. "Chitin plays an important role in the biomineralization of such calcium carbonate based shells and structures," explains Brunner. "We have now been the first to demonstrate that the silica cell walls of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana also contain a chitin-based network."

The researchers dissolved the silica components of diatom shells with a fluoride-containing solution. What remained behind appears under a scanning electron microscope as a delicate, net-like scaffolding. This network resembles the cell wall in form and size and consists of crosslinked fibers with an average diameter of about 25 nm. Spectroscopic examinations show that the fibers contain chitin and other, previously unknown biomolecules.

"Our results suggest that the chitin-based network structure serves as a supporting scaffold for silica deposition, while the other biomolecules actively influence it," states Brunner. "This mechanism is thus analogous to calcium carbonate biomineralization. In addition, these networks may also mechanically stabilize the cell walls."

Author: Eike Brunner, TU Dresden (Germany), analyt.chm.tu-dresden.de/

Title: Chitin-Based Organic Networks—An Integral Part of Cell Wall Biosilica in the Diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, doi: 10.1002/anie.200905028

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Editorial office:


Amy Molnar (US)


Jennifer Beal (UK)


Alina Boey (Asia)

Copyright © Angewandte Chemie

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Small but heading for the big time: Nanobiotix half year results for the six months ended 30 June 2015, in line with expectations: Major clinical achievements and corporate developments August 28th, 2015

A new technique to make drugs more soluble August 28th, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Nanolab Technologies LEAPS Forward with High-Performance Analysis Services to the World: Nanolab Orders Advanced Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP®) Microscope from CAMECA Unit of AMETEK Materials Analysis Division August 27th, 2015

Chemistry

A new technique to make drugs more soluble August 28th, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Laser-burned graphene gains metallic powers: Rice University scientists find possible replacement for platinum as catalyst August 20th, 2015

Electrospray solves longstanding problem in Langmuir-Blodgett assembly: The electrospray spreads water-soluble solvents on water while minimizing mixing August 20th, 2015

Physics

Record-high pressure reveals secrets of matter: The most incompressible metal osmium at static pressures above 750 GPa August 25th, 2015

Southampton scientists find new way to detect ortho-para conversion in water August 25th, 2015

Discoveries

A new technique to make drugs more soluble August 28th, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

CWRU researchers efficiently charge a lithium-ion battery with solar cell: Coupling with perovskite solar cell holds potential for cleaner cars and more August 27th, 2015

Successful boron-doping of graphene nanoribbon August 27th, 2015

Announcements

Small but heading for the big time: Nanobiotix half year results for the six months ended 30 June 2015, in line with expectations: Major clinical achievements and corporate developments August 28th, 2015

A new technique to make drugs more soluble August 28th, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Nanolab Technologies LEAPS Forward with High-Performance Analysis Services to the World: Nanolab Orders Advanced Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP®) Microscope from CAMECA Unit of AMETEK Materials Analysis Division August 27th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic