Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Particles of crystalline quartz wear away teeth: Study questions informative value of dental microwear for dietary habits of extinct species

Surface of a tooth, with two large scratches (dark blue lines) that have been caused by quartz particles.
© Peter Lucas, Kuwait University
Surface of a tooth, with two large scratches (dark blue lines) that have been caused by quartz particles.

© Peter Lucas, Kuwait University

Abstract:
Dental microwear, the pattern of tiny marks on worn tooth surfaces, is an important basis for understanding the diets of fossil mammals, including those of our own lineage. Now nanoscale research by an international multidisciplinary group that included members of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig has unraveled some of its causes. It turns out that quartz dust is the major culprit in wearing away tooth enamel. Silica phytoliths, particles produced by plants, just rub enamel, and thus have a minor effect on its surface. The results suggest that scientists will have to revise what microwear can tell us about diets, and suggest that environmental factors like droughts and dust storms may have had a large effect on the longevity of teeth. In particular, East African hominins may have suffered during dust storms, particularly from particles carried in by seasonal winds from the Arabian peninsula.

Particles of crystalline quartz wear away teeth: Study questions informative value of dental microwear for dietary habits of extinct species

Munich, Germany | Posted on January 9th, 2013

New research published by the scientists in Leipzig suggests that the main cause of the physical wear of mammalian teeth is the extremely hard particles of crystalline quartz in soils in many parts of the world. To show this, single particles were mounted on flat-tipped titanium rods and slid over flat tooth enamel surfaces at known forces. Quartz particles could remove pieces of tooth enamel at extremely low forces, meaning that even during a single bite, these particles could abrade much of the surface of the tooth if they are present in numbers.

In contrast, fossilized plant remains, so-called phytoliths, indented the enamel under the same conditions, but without tissue removal. The effect of the considerably softer phytoliths is similar to that of a fingernail pressed against a softwood desk. This kind of mark, called a rubbing mark, is visible but purely cosmetic.

The Max Planck Institute's Amanda Henry provided the phytoliths for the study, and assisted in the interpretation. "This study suggests that phytoliths do affect teeth, but in a different manner than we previously thought," she says. A new theory of wear, developed by collaborator Tony Atkins from Reading in the UK, suggests exactly what geometrical and material conditions are required for abrasive versus rubbing contacts. "People have not realized the vital importance of factoring fracture toughness into wear analyses" says Prof. Atkins. Study leader and Kuwait University researcher Peter Lucas says "we think that we've gone a lot further with the analysis of microwear than previous investigations because we realized that to uncover the mechanisms that cause it, you need to go one level smaller - to nanoscale. It is only then that the difference between relatively innocuous rubbing contacts and those that remove tooth tissues becomes clear." The team could distinguish between marks made by quartz dust, plant phytoliths, and also by enamel chips rubbing against larger pieces of enamel.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Dr. Amanda Henry

49-341-355-0381

Copyright © Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

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

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Chengdu Partner to Expand FD-SOI Ecosystem in China: More than $100M investment to establish a center of excellence for FDXTM FD-SOI design May 23rd, 2017

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Leti Will Demo World’s-first WVGA 10-µm Pitch GaN Microdisplays for Augmented Reality Video at Display Week in Los Angles: Invited Paper also Will Present Leti’s Success with New Augmented Reality Technology That Reduces Pixel Pitch to Less than 5 Microns May 22nd, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

Discoveries

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Sensors detect disease markers in breath May 19th, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

Plasmon-powered upconversion nanocrystals for enhanced bioimaging and polarized emission: Plasmonic gold nanorods brighten lanthanide-doped upconversion superdots for improved multiphoton bioimaging contrast and enable polarization-selective nonlinear emissions for novel nanoscal May 19th, 2017

Announcements

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Chengdu Partner to Expand FD-SOI Ecosystem in China: More than $100M investment to establish a center of excellence for FDXTM FD-SOI design May 23rd, 2017

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Leti Will Demo World’s-first WVGA 10-µm Pitch GaN Microdisplays for Augmented Reality Video at Display Week in Los Angles: Invited Paper also Will Present Leti’s Success with New Augmented Reality Technology That Reduces Pixel Pitch to Less than 5 Microns May 22nd, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

Research partnerships

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Sensors detect disease markers in breath May 19th, 2017

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

Gas gives laser-induced graphene super properties: Rice University study shows inexpensive material can be superhydrophilic or superhydrophobic May 15th, 2017

Dental

New technology can detect tiny ovarian tumors: 'Synthetic biomarkers' could be used to diagnose ovarian cancer months earlier than now possible April 10th, 2017

New stem cell technique shows promise for bone repair January 25th, 2017

Nanocellulose in medicine and green manufacturing: American University professor develops method to improve performance of cellulose nanocrystals November 7th, 2016

STMicroelectronics’ Semiconductor Chips Contribute to Connected Toothbrush from Oral-B That Sees What You Don’t: Microcontroller and Accelerometer help brushers clean their teeth more effectively October 4th, 2016

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