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Solid-state NMR spectroscopic studies of 13C,15N,29Si-enriched biosilica from the marine diatom Cyclotella cryptica

  • Kolbe, Felicitas1
  • Ehren, Helena Leona2
  • Kohrs, Simon1
  • Butscher, Daniel1
  • Reiß, Lukas1, 3
  • Baldus, Marc2
  • Brunner, Eike1
  • 1 Faculty of Chemistry and Food Chemistry, TU Dresden, Dresden, 01062, Germany , Dresden (Germany)
  • 2 Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research Utrecht University, Utrecht, 3584 CH, The Netherlands , Utrecht (Netherlands)
  • 3 Hochschule Für Bildende Künste (HfBK) Dresden, Güntzstraße 34, Dresden, 01307, Germany , Dresden (Germany)
Published Article
Discover Materials
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Nov 30, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s43939-020-00003-7
Springer Nature


Diatoms are algae producing micro- and nano-structured cell walls mainly containing amorphous silica. The shape and patterning of these cell walls is species-specific. Herein, the biosilica of Cyclotella cryptica, a centric marine diatom with a massive organic matrix, is studied. Solid-state NMR spectroscopy is applied to gain deeper insight into the interactions at the organic–inorganic interface of the cell walls. The various organic compounds like polysaccharides as well as proteins and long-chain polyamines (LCPAs) are detected by observation of heteronuclei like 13C and 15N whereas the silica phase is studied using 29Si NMR spectroscopy. The sensitivity of the NMR experiments is strongly enhanced by isotope-labeling of the diatoms during cultivation with 13C, 15N and 29Si. The presence of two different chitin species in the biosilica is demonstrated. This observation is supported by a monosaccharide analysis of the silica-associated organic matrix where a high amount of glucosamine is found. Moreover, the Rotational Echo Double Resonance (REDOR) experiment provides distance information for heteronuclear spins. 13C{29Si} REDOR experiments reveal proximities between different organic compounds and the silica phase. The closest contacts between silica and organic compounds appear for different signals in the 13C-chemical shift range of 40–60 ppm, the typical range for LCPAs.

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