Taking Advantage of Disorder: Amorphous Calcium Carbonate and Its Roles in Biomineralization


  • We thank Joanna Aizenberg, Elia Beniash, Bat-Ami Gotliv, Yael Levi-Kalisman, Irit Sagi, and Ingrid Weiss, who all contributed significantly to our understanding of ACC. S. W. is the incumbent of the Dr. Walter and Dr. Trude Burchardt Professorial Chair of Structural Biology and L. A. is the incumbent of the Dorothy and Patrick Gorman Professorial Chair of Biological Ultrastructure. This work was supported by a Minerva Foundation grant.


Amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) in its pure form is highly unstable, yet some organisms produce stable ACC, and cases are known in which ACC functions as a transient precursor of more stable crystalline aragonite or calcite. Studies of biogenic ACC show that there are significant structural differences, including the observation that the stable forms are hydrated whereas the transient forms are not. The many different ways in which ACC can be formed in vitro shed light on the possible mechanisms involved in stabilization, destabilization, and transformation of ACC into crystalline forms of calcium carbonate. We show here that ACC is a fascinating form of calcium carbonate that may well be of much interest to materials science and biomineralization.