Calcium carbonate mineralization: involvement of extracellular polymeric materials isolated from calcifying bacteria.

Department of Basic and Applied Biology, University of L'Aquila, 67010 L'Aquila, Italy.
Microscopy and Microanalysis (Impact Factor: 2.5). 06/2012; 18(4):829-39. DOI: 10.1017/S1431927612000426
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study highlights the role of specific outer bacterial structures, such as the glycocalix, in calcium carbonate crystallization in vitro. We describe the formation of calcite crystals by extracellular polymeric materials, such as exopolysaccharides (EPS) and capsular polysaccharides (CPS) isolated from Bacillus firmus and Nocardia calcarea. Organic matrices were isolated from calcifying bacteria grown on synthetic medium--in the presence or absence of calcium ions--and their effect on calcite precipitation was assessed. Scanning electron microscopy observations and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry analysis showed that CPS and EPS fractions were involved in calcium carbonate precipitation, not only serving as nucleation sites but also through a direct role in crystal formation. The utilization of different synthetic media, with and without addition of calcium ions, influenced the biofilm production and protein profile of extracellular polymeric materials. Proteins of CPS fractions with a molecular mass between 25 and 70 kDa were overexpressed when calcium ions were present in the medium. This higher level of protein synthesis could be related to the active process of bioprecipitation.

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