Microscopic CT reveals secrets of bone formation

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A new version of a CT scan is giving scientists new information about biomineralization, which could form a knowledge base for understanding bone loss in humans and even help understand how body part regeneration, according to a field overview to be published in the Nov. 12 issue of ACS’ Chemical Reviews.

In the article, the authors describe ongoing research in which scientists use x-ray microcomputer tomography, the high-resolution version of conventional CT, to study biomineralization, the process in which animals form bones, shells and other hard structures. Like a CT microscope, it constructs 3D images of structures in bones and shells too small for viewing with regular CT.

The article provides an overview of current research involving x-ray microcomputer tomography, and the implications for medicine, design of new materials and other fields.

“It is of interest in modern materials science to synthetically mimic these inorganic structures to create new coatings, materials or instruments for practical application,” according to the article. “We are convinced that this method will be of high future value to study the spatially different mineralization processes in mineralizing animals and plants.”