Application of synchrotron-radiation-based computer microtomography to selected biominerals: embryonic snails, statoliths of medusae, and human teeth
Synchrotron-radiation-based computer microtomography (SRμCT) was applied to three biomineralised objects First, embryonic snails of the freshwater snail Biomphalaria glabrata, second, rhopalia (complex sense organs) of the medusa Aurelia aurita, and third, human teeth. The high absorption contrast between the soft tissue and mineralised tissues, i.e. the shell in the first case (consisting of calcium carbonate) and the statoliths in the second case (consisting of calcium sulphate hemihydrate), makes this method ideal for the study of biomineralised tissues. The objects can be non-destructively studied on a micrometre scale, and quantitative parameters like the thickness of a forming a snail shell or statolith crystal sizes can be obtained on a length scale of 1–2 μm. Using SRμCT, the dentin–enamel border can be clearly identified in X-ray dense teeth.
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