Temperature can control the growth of biomorphs

Temperature can control the growth of biomorphs

Biomorphs are silica and carbonate materials capable of assembling themselves to create symmetries, forms and structures similar to those of living organisms. The results of this CSIC study have been published in the journal ‘Nature Communications’. Calcium carbonate is the mineral most used by living organisms to build complex structures with excellent mechanical properties that they use as exoskeletons. To make them, they only need calcium from sea or river water, carbon dioxide from the…

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Silica Metal Oxide Vesicles Catalyze Comprehensive Prebiotic Chemistry

Silica Metal Oxide Vesicles Catalyze Comprehensive Prebiotic Chemistry

Mattia Bizzarri, B.; Botta, L.; Perez-Valverde, M. I.; Saladino, R.; Di Mauro, E.; Garcia-Ruiz, J. M., Silica Metal Oxide Vesicles Catalyze Comprehensive Prebiotic Chemistry. Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany) 2018, 24 (32), 8126-8132. Download paper. It has recently been demonstrated that mineral self‐assembled structures catalyzing prebiotic chemical reactions may form in natural waters derived from serpentinization, a geological process widespread in the early stages of Earth‐like planets. We have synthesized self‐assembled membranes by mixing…

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A morphogram for silica-witherite biomorphs and its application to microfossil identification in the early earth rock record

A morphogram for silica-witherite biomorphs and its application to microfossil identification in the early earth rock record

Rouillard, J.; Garcia-Ruiz, J. M.; Gong, J.; van Zuilen, M. A., A morphogram for silica-witherite biomorphs and its application to microfossil identification in the early earth rock record. Geobiology 2018. Download paper. Archean hydrothermal environments formed a likely site for the origin and early evolution of life. These are also the settings, however, were complex abiologic structures can form. Low-temperature serpentinization of ultramafic crust can generate alkaline, silica-saturated fluids in which carbonate-silica crystalline aggregates with…

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Structural Transition of Inorganic Silica-Carbonate Composites Towards Curved Lifelike Morphologies

Structural Transition of Inorganic Silica-Carbonate Composites Towards Curved Lifelike Morphologies

Opel, J.; Kellermeier, M.; Sickinger, A.; Morales, J.; Coelfen, H.; Garcia-Ruiz, J.-M., Structural Transition of Inorganic Silica-Carbonate Composites Towards Curved Lifelike Morphologies. Minerals 2018, 8 (2). Download paper. The self-assembly of alkaline earth carbonates in the presence of silica at high pH leads to a unique class of composite materials displaying a broad variety of self-assembled superstructures with complex morphologies. A detailed understanding of the formation process of these purely inorganic architectures is crucial for…

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Biomimetic mineral self-organization from silica-rich spring waters

Biomimetic mineral self-organization from silica-rich spring waters

Garcia-Ruiz, J. M.; Nakouzi, E.; Kotopoulou, E.; Tamborrino, L.; Steinbock, O., Biomimetic mineral self-organization from silica-rich spring waters. Sci Adv 2017, 3 (3). Download paper. Purely inorganic reactions of silica, metal carbonates, and metal hydroxides can produce self-organized complex structures that mimic the texture of biominerals, the morphology of primitive organisms, and that catalyze prebiotic reactions. To date, these fascinating structures have only been synthesized using model solutions. We report that mineral self-assembly can be…

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Precipitation and Crystallization Kinetics in Silica Gardens

Precipitation and Crystallization Kinetics in Silica Gardens

Glaab, F.; Rieder, J.; Klein, R.; Choquesillo-Lazarte, D.; Melero-Garcia, E.; Garcia-Ruiz, J. M.; Kunz, W.; Kellermeier, M., Precipitation and Crystallization Kinetics in Silica Gardens. Chemphyschem 2017, 18 (4), 338-345. Download paper. Silica gardens are extraordinary plant‐like structures resulting from the complex interplay of relatively simple inorganic components. Recent work has highlighted that macroscopic self‐assembly is accompanied by the spontaneous formation of considerable chemical gradients, which induce a cascade of coupled dissolution, diffusion, and precipitation processes…

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Summary of main achievements (August 2014-January 2017)

Summary of main achievements (August 2014-January 2017)

Our project is based on the interaction of two main research lines: 1) The fundamental understanding of the phenomenon of mineral self-assembly and, 2) Its relevance to reveal the transition from non-life to life during the Early Earth. We have made the following progress in both fields: Successful field trips to Aqua de Ney alkaline waters (California), Oman ophiolites and their alkaline springs, Dallol hydrothermal system in Ethiopia, and alkaline lakes in the Southern Rift…

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PROMETHEUS Meeting 2017

PROMETHEUS Meeting 2017

From left to right, upper row: Mark van Zuilen, Juanma García Ruiz, Werner Kunz, Luis Gonzalez Ramirez, Cristobal Verdugo, Manolis Giampouras, Alfonso García Caballero, Jaime Gómez, Fermin Otálora, Joaquin Criado, Julian Opel, Marco Montalti, Isaac Rodríguez and Joti Rouillard. Lower row: Jeannette Manzi, Maritza Iveth, Kevin Hagmann, Electra Kotopoulou, Francisca Espinosa. Not in the picture, but also attended the meeting were Angels Canals, Duane Choquesillo, Yadav Brijbhushan, Angel Orte, Jose Manuel Domínguez and Lionel Cervera….

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Gan Zhang

Gan Zhang

I am a chemist from China. I joined the Prof. Juan Manuel García Ruiz’s group in 2010 when I started the master and PhD study in Crystallization and Crystallography, and received the PhD title in 2015. My research in the group towards the polymorphic and morphological control of the crystallization of calcium carbonate as well as the hydrate forms in alkaline silica-rich media, to explore the morphogenetic mechanism of silica biomorphs. My work is strongly…

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Julian Opel

Julian Opel

University of Konstanz, started in 2015. Julian Opel is a German PhD student at the University of Konstanz (Germany) in the group of Prof. Helmut Cölfen. He got his M. Sc. in chemistry in 2015. In his Master thesis, he investigated new strategies to functionalize silica-biomorphs with various functional groups, organic molecules and inorganic nano particles to lern more about the inner structure of biomorphs and to turn these fascinating structures into a functional material….

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