Nanostructure, osteopontin, and mechanical properties of calcitic avian eggshell
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D. Athanasiadou, W. Jiang, D. Goldbaum, A. Saleem, K. Basu, M. S. Pacella, C. F. Böhm, R. R. Chromik, M. T. Hincke, A. B. Rodríguez-Navarro, H. Vali, S. E. Wolf, J. J. Gray, K. H. Bui, M. D. McKee, Nanostructure, osteopontin, and mechanical properties of calcitic avian eggshell. Sci. Adv. 4, eaar3219 (2018). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/53930]
SponsorshipThis work was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (no. MOP-142330) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC; no. RGPIN-2016-05031) to M.D.M., an NSERC (no. RGPIN-2016-04410) Discovery grant to M.T.H., a Spanish Government grant (CGL2015-64683-P) to A.B.R.-N., an Emmy Noether research grant from the German Research Foundation (no. WO1712/3-1) to S.E.W., and an NSF grant (NSF BMAT; no. 1507736) to J.J.G. M.D.M. is a member of the Fonds de Recherche Quebec–Sante Network for Oral and Bone Health Research and the McGill Centre for Bone and Periodontal Research
Avian (and formerly dinosaur) eggshells form a hard, protective biomineralized chamber for embryonic growth—an evolutionary strategy that has existed for hundreds of millions of years. We show in the calcitic chicken eggshell how the mineral and organic phases organize hierarchically across different length scales and how variation in nanostructure across the shell thicknessmodifies its hardness, elastic modulus, and dissolution properties.We also show that the nanostructure changes during egg incubation, weakening the shell for chick hatching. Nanostructure and increased hardness were reproduced in synthetic calcite crystals grown in the presence of the prominent eggshell protein osteopontin. These results demonstrate the contribution of nanostructure to avian eggshell formation, mechanical properties, and dissolution.