Title: Biomineralization of clam shells and pearls
Speaker: Prof Dorrit Jacob
Clam shells and pearls are natural organic-inorganic nano-composite materials formed by organisms through mechanisms that are still almost entirely unknown. Despite this, they are routinely used for environmental and paleo-climatological reconstructions by relating their chemical composition to that of inorganic carbonates. Complications encountered by this methodology are often attributed to ill-defined physiological control of the organism on the mineralization of the shell. Studying the inorganic-organic building plan of clam shells and pearls using a suite of state-of-the-art micro-analytical methods highlights the complicated structure and allows insight into formation mechanisms.