Biomimetic and bio-inspired uses of mollusc shells
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
, p. 85-90
University of Antwerp
Climate change and ocean acidification are likely to have a profound effect on marine molluscs, which are of great ecological and economic importance. One process particularly sensitive to climate change is the formation of biominerals in mollusc shells. Fundamental research is broadening our understanding of the biomineralization process, as well as providing more informed predictions on the effects of climate change on marine molluscs. Such studies are important in their own right, but their value also extends to applied sciences. Biominerals, organic/inorganic hybrid materials with many remarkable physical and chemical properties, have been studied for decades, and the possibilities for future improved use of such materials for society are widely recognised. This article highlights the potential use of our understanding of the shell biomineralization process in novel bio-inspired and biomimetic applications. It also highlights the potential for the valorisation of shells produced as a by-product of the aquaculture industry. Studying shells and the formation of biominerals will inspire novel functional hybrid materials. It may also provide sustainable, ecologically- and economically-viable solutions to some of the problems created by current human resource exploitation. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.