Royal Society Publishing

Amorphous calcium carbonate transforms into calcite during sea urchin larval spicule growth

Elia Beniash, Joanna Aizenberg, Lia Addadi, Stephen Weiner


Sea urchin larvae form an endoskeleton composed of a pair of spicules. For more than a century it has been stated that each spicule comprises a single crystal of the CaCO3 mineral, calcite. We show that an additional mineral phase, amorphous calcium carbonate, is present in the sea urchin larval spicule, and that this inherently unstable mineral transforms into calcite with time. This observation significantly changes our concepts of mineral formation in this well–studied organism.

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