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Structure determination of biogenic crystals directly from 3D electron diffraction data

Wagner, Avital, Merkelbach, Johannes, Samperisi, Laura, Pinsk, Noam, Kariuki, Benson M. ORCID:, Hughes, Colan E., Harris, Kenneth D. M. ORCID: and Palmer, Benjamin A. 2024. Structure determination of biogenic crystals directly from 3D electron diffraction data. Crystal Growth and Design 24 (3) , pp. 899-905. 10.1021/acs.cgd.3c01290

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Highly reflective assemblies of purine, pteridine, and flavin crystals are used in the coloration and visual systems of many different animals. However, structure determination of biogenic crystals by single-crystal XRD is challenging due to the submicrometer size and beam sensitivity of the crystals, and powder XRD is inhibited due to the small volumes of powders, crystalline impurity phases, and significant preferred orientation. Consequently, the crystal structures of many biogenic materials remain unknown. Herein, we demonstrate that the 3D electron diffraction (3D ED) technique provides a powerful alternative approach, reporting the successful structure determination of biogenic guanine crystals (from spider integument, fish scales, and scallop eyes) from 3D ED data confirmed by analysis of powder XRD data. The results show that all biogenic guanine crystals studied are the previously known β-polymorph. This study highlights the considerable potential of 3D ED for elucidating the structures of biogenic molecular crystals in the nanometer-to-micrometer size range. This opens up an important opportunity in the development of organic biomineralization, for which structural knowledge is critical for understanding the optical functions of biogenic materials and their possible applications as sustainable, biocompatible optical materials.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Publisher: American Chemical Society
ISSN: 1528-7483
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 January 2024
Date of Acceptance: 19 December 2023
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2024 09:53

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