Grow crystals of magnetic teeth help shellfish


UCLA scientists managed to find out the mechanism of growth in the teeth crustacean shellfish Cryptochiton stelleri magnetite crystals. Summary of the paper published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, is available on the website of the university.

Heaton shellfish or shellfish is called marine invertebrates that feed growing on coastal rocks algae. Scrape algae off the rocks to help the animals is very strong teeth collected in the so-called radula, which is shaped like a grater. Radula teeth are composed predominantly of magnetite crystals - iron oxide Fe3O4, known as the hardest biomineral.

The formation of crystals of magnetite, according to scientists, is in the teeth of shellfish due to the special chitin matrix. It is this carbohydrate (chitin) is characteristic of arthropods and affect the direction of growth of magnetite crystals, which then become narrow and elongated in one direction.

Scientists believe that understanding the process of crystal growth in molluscs may be crucial to the future creation of composite materials. Moreover, it can be simple mechanical solids and sophisticated electric batteries or solar cells with silicon crystals.

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