JUN 13, 2018 10:19 AM PDT

The (Bio)chemistry of Seashells

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

The ingredient of seashells is mostly calcium carbonate, the same chemical you can find in limestone, eggs shells, and gastric antacid pills. Depending on how the atoms are arranged within materials, the resulted density and structure can be entirely different. 

For example, calcite is a mineral with a trigonal crystal structure and it is among the most stable polymorph of calcium carbonate; aragonite is another common carbonate mineral. It has naturally occurring crystals that form orthorhombic lattices.  

The secretion of protein matrix is the first step for animals like the bivalve mollusks to form their shells. These proteins direct the calcification process through binding the calcium cations in the water. The binding allows seashells to grow a crystal lattice pattern that is unique to the species. What's more, the timing and spot of the protein secretion also determine the type of calcium carbonate crystal formed. 

Source: ACSReaction via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
JUN 30, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Axion: Could the Curious Particle "Kill Two Birds with One Stone"
JUN 30, 2020
Axion: Could the Curious Particle "Kill Two Birds with One Stone"
Physicists often ponder in an unusual way: they use one unsolved problem as a hypothetic solution to another, hoping to ...
JUL 09, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Can we use electricity to clean up toxic wastewater?
JUL 09, 2020
Can we use electricity to clean up toxic wastewater?
Scientists from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Sydney have figured out how to ...
JUL 14, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Thermoluminescence Dating: How Heating Ancient Pots Can Help Determining Their Age
JUL 14, 2020
Thermoluminescence Dating: How Heating Ancient Pots Can Help Determining Their Age
Radiometric dating is an effective method for determining the age of the material, whether a mineral or a piece of organ ...
JUL 23, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Lab Tests Show Levels of THC Can Rise in CBD Oil During Storage
JUL 23, 2020
Lab Tests Show Levels of THC Can Rise in CBD Oil During Storage
To be federally legal in all states CBD (cannabidiol) oil must contain less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive ingredi ...
AUG 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earth's Magnetic Field Changing Faster than Previously Thought
AUG 10, 2020
Earth's Magnetic Field Changing Faster than Previously Thought
The Earth's magnetic field is crucial for life on Earth. Generated by the molten iron core 3000 km beneath our plane ...
SEP 12, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Colorimetric sensor detects presence of airborne pathogens
SEP 12, 2020
Colorimetric sensor detects presence of airborne pathogens
The development of a novel colorimetric sensor may bring some mental relief to your COVID-19 anxieties. According to the ...
Loading Comments...