Subtleties of biomineralisation revealed by manipulation of the eggshell membrane

Nan Li, Li na Niu, Yi pin Qi, Cynthia K.Y. Yiu, Heonjune Ryou, Dwayne D. Arola, Ji hua Chen, David Henry Pashley, Franklin Chi Meng Tay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Biocalcification of collagen matrices with calcium phosphate and biosilicification of diatom frustules with amorphous silica are two discrete processes that have intrigued biologists and materials scientists for decades. Recent advancements in the understanding of the mechanisms involved in these two biomineralisation processes have resulted in the use of biomimetic strategies to replicate these processes separately using polyanionic, polycationic or zwitterionic analogues of extracellular matrix proteins to stabilise amorphous mineral precursor phases. To date, there is a lack of a universal model that enables the subtleties of these two apparently dissimilar biomineralisation processes to be studied together. Here, we utilise the eggshell membrane as a universal model for differential biomimetic calcification and silicification. By manipulating the eggshell membrane to render it permeable to stabilised mineral precursors, it is possible to introduce nanostructured calcium phosphate or silica into eggshell membrane fibre cores or mantles. We provide a model for infiltrating the two compartmental niches of a biopolymer membrane with different intrafibre minerals to obtain materials with potentially improved structure-property relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8743-8752
Number of pages10
Issue number34
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Apatite
  • Biomineralisation
  • Membrane
  • Silica

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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