Researchers from the University of Granada, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the University of Aveiro (Portugal) have studied for the first time nacre's growing mechanism of gastropods, a previous step for the artificial reproduction of this material in laboratories which could make possible its use in biomedicine, with applications such as the regeneration of human bones.
This pioneer new work has been recently published in the renowned journal PNAS, and its authors are Antonio Checa, Professor of the department of Stratigraphy and Paleontology of the University of Granada; Julyan Cartwright, researcher of the Andalusian Institute of Earth Sciences (CSIC-UGR), and Marc-Georg Willinger (University of Aveiro, Portugal).
Many molluscs present an iridiscent nacre layer on the internal surface of their shells, which lends them an enormous strength against fractures. Oddly, although molluscs have been producing nacre for million years, men had not been able to reproduce it artificially. Apart from their beauty this is the material pearls are made of-, scientists have also done research into nacre due to its biomedical applications and its excellent biomechanic properties. If it was possible to reproduce this natural compost in an artificial way, it would have multiple and relevant applications.
The authors of the work have analysed gastropods' nacre in detail (pleurotomariidae, turbos, trochus, abalones and others). Such nacre grows forming block towers, as piles of coins, unlike bivalves (nuculas, mussels, nacras, pearl oysters), which grow just like terraces of tablets. Nacr
|Contact: Antonio Checa|
Universidad de Granada