Chapter 18. Eggshell Growth and Matrix Macromolecules

  1. Prof. Dr. Edmund Bäuerlein
  1. José Luis Arias,
  2. Karlheinz Mann,
  3. Yves Nys,
  4. Juan Manuel Garcia Ruiz and
  5. Maria Soledad Fernández

Published Online: 20 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch18

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

How to Cite

Arias, J. L., Mann, K., Nys, Y., Ruiz, J. M. G. and Fernández, M. S. (2007) Eggshell Growth and Matrix Macromolecules, in Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation (ed E. Bäuerlein), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch18

Editor Information

  1. Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Department of Membrane Biochemistry, Am Klopferspitz 18 A, 82152 Planegg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 25 MAY 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527316410

Online ISBN: 9783527619443



  • eggshell;
  • mammillan;
  • ovoglycan;
  • ovocleidin;
  • ovocalyxin;
  • calcin;
  • type x collagen


The avian eggshell is a highly ordered natural acellular composite bioceramic in which the inorganic moiety is formed in conjunction with organic biopolymers in the form of proteins and proteoglycans. It is formed in the oviduct, a confined, assembly line-type, tubular bioreactor, where a spatio-temporal regulated biosynthesis and secretion of organic macromolecules control the crystallization of calcium carbonate. Numerous approaches have been carried out to localize, isolate, identify and characterize the matrix molecules present in the demineralized eggshell, or their precursors in the eggshell-forming tissue or its secretions. In this context, three groups of molecules have been associated with eggshell formation: (i) ubiquitous components; (ii) egg white components; and (iii) components unique to the eggshell. In this chapter, we examine the current information on the eggshell structure, composition and formation which is considered in six principal sections: eggshell structure and formation; crystalline structure of the eggshell; eggshell organic component localization; the unique eggshell organic components; a proteomic inventory of the chicken calcified eggshell matrix; and role of the organic components in eggshell mineralization.