Adapted from Wang RZ, et al. J Mater Res. Jun 2001; 16(9):2485-93

Nacre is the shiny lustrous inner layer of seashells. Also known as mother of pearl, it is a biomineral with a highly ordered structure that is controlled by proteins within its organic matrix. Nacre is comprised of mineral plates and an organic matrix that are arranged in a “brick and mortar” motif. The mineral is 3,000 times stronger than its geologic counterpart because of this arrangement. The proteins responsible for this organization are also capable of initiating bone formation, and our current efforts concentrate on isolating these proteins for incorporation within biosynthetic materials to direct osteogenesis.

Olabisi Lab, Engineering Hall, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697