Relation between the Inorganic Chemistry and Biochemistry of Bone Mineralization

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Science  27 Jan 1961:
Vol. 133, Issue 3448, pp. 281-282
DOI: 10.1126/science.133.3448.281


In vitro experiments with saliva resulted in precipitation of a mineral substance (dahllite or carbonate hydroxyapatite) which is comparable in composition and crystal structure to oral calculus. Similar mineral substances were produced from synthetic solutions containing sodium phosphate and calcium chloride (in addition to a buffer) in the presence of carbonic anhydrase and available carbon dioxide. It is concluded that the carbonate ion is essential to precipitation of bone mineral and that the principal biochemical catalyst in vivo is carbonic anhydrase. Bacteria are not essential to the precipitation, but they probably play a secondary role in connection with the formation of oral calculus, urinary calculus, and so forth.