Organismic Autonomy in Biomineralization Processes

  • Klaus Vogel
  • Wolfgang F. Gutmann


The energy budget of an organism is subject to selection. Based on this fact we present the following points:
  1. 1.

    Uptake of ions (mineral substances), their involvement in metabolism and their release are strictly controlled by the organism. The control requires energy.

  2. 2.

    Building-up mineral deposits which are larger than necessary for times of deficiency, charges the energy budget. For utilization as skeletal parts they must be secreted at or transported to special sites. The organism must often synthesize organic membranes for their protection or as templates. These and other related activities cost energy.

  3. 3.

    It follows that the incipient stages of biomineralization and the deposition of well-organized skeletal structures were already backed by selective advantages.

  4. 4.

    As primary selective advantages of biomineralization of unicellular organisms, control of cell shape, scaffolding for activities of cytoplasmatic fibres and rhizopodia and stabilisation of nucleus and organelles are discussed.

  5. 5.

    It results that the origin and evolution of biomineralization is controlled by the pre-existing biochemical organization and biomechanical construction of the organism. Biomineralization reflects the autonomy of the organism and is more than a mirror of evolution of ocean chemistry and more than detoxification.



Skeletal Structure Skeletal Element Siliceous Structure Biomineralization Process Rigid Element 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Vogel
    • 1
  • Wolfgang F. Gutmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Geologisch-Paläontologisches InstitutJ.W. Goethe University of FrankfurtFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.Senckenberg-MuseumFrankfurtGermany

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