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Recovering and Exploiting Aragonite and Calcite Single Crystals with Biologically Controlled Shapes from Mussel Shells

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posted on 2022-11-18, 00:44 authored by Carla Triunfo, Stefanie Gärtner, Chiara Marchini, Simona Fermani, Gabriele Maoloni, Stefano Goffredo, Jaime Gomez Morales, Helmut Cölfen, Giuseppe Falini
Control over the shape and morphology of single crystals is a theme of great interest in fundamental science and for technological application. Many synthetic strategies to achieve this goal are inspired by biomineralization processes. Indeed, organisms are able to produce crystals with high fidelity in shape and morphology utilizing macromolecules that act as modifiers. An alternative strategy can be the recovery of crystals from biomineralization products, in this case, seashells. In particular, waste mussel shells from aquaculture are considered. They are mainly built up of single crystals of calcite fibers and aragonite tablets forming an outer and an inner layer, respectively. A simple mechanochemical treatment has been developed to separate and recover these two typologies of single crystals. The characterization of these single crystals showed peculiar properties with respect to the calcium carbonate from quarry or synthesis. We exploited these biomaterials in the water remediation field using them as substrate adsorbing dyes. We found that these substrates show a high capability of adsorption for anionic dye, such as Eosin Y, but a low capability of adsorption for cationic dyes, such as Blue Methylene. The adsorption was reversible at pH 5.6. This application represents just an example of the potential use of these biogenic single crystals. We also envision potential applications as reinforcing fillers and optical devices.

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