Biomineralisation

Investigations on Organo- and Biomineralisation processes are a central research topic of the Geobiology department of Göttingen. Biomineralisation describes enzymatically controlled mineral-forming processes in disequilibrium with the ambient environment. Main research interests are the Precambrian onset of metazoan biomineralisation (Cloudina-reefs), detection of organic matrix molecules within mineralised compounds, and the analysis and recognition of genes which are involved in the formation of biomineral-forming macromolecules, mainly proteins in ancestral metazoans. Model organisms for these investigations are coralline sponges (e.g. Astrosclera willeyana ) and azooxanthelate scleratinian corals (e.g. Lophelia, Madrepora ).

Beside the research on enzymatically controlled biomineralisation the formation and function of microbial EPS (exopolymeric mucus substances)-related mineralisation are an important research focus. EPS-biomineralisation is a crucial non-enzymatic process in the formation e.g. of methane carbonates, fresh water tufa, and generally of stromatolites and microbialites.

Organomineralisation describes rock-forming processes under control of non-living organic compounds, e.g. various types of metal-binding biogenic and geogenic macromolecules. Organomineralisation plays a crucial role in the formation of sedimentary automicrites, cements, and low temperature heavy metal ores.

All types of organo- and biominerals retain information of the ambient environmental conditions and therefore are excellent proxy archives. The analysis of biogenic carbonates and silica allows the detailed reconstruction of paleoenvironments.

contact:

Prof. Dr. Daniel Jackson
Prof. Dr. Joachim Reitner