Silicification is widespread in the biological world and occurs in bacteria, single-celled protists, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Minerals formed in the biological environment often show unusual physical properties (e.g., strength, degree of hydration) and often have structures that exhibit order on many length scales. The minerals are formed from an environment that is undersaturated with respect to silicon and under conditions of around neutral pH and low temperature ca. 4–40°C. Formation of the mineral may occur intra- or extra-cellularly and specific biochemical locations for mineral deposition that include lipids, proteins and carbohydrates are known. The significance of the cellular machinery...

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