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Extra info for Ciba Foundation Symposium 121 - Silicon Biochemistry

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Some of the species will be anions since the Si(0H) group is acidic. For the most part we are not concerned with very acidic and very basic solutions, so Si(OH), is the conventional starting point. It would appear to be common in all water (fresh and sea), and is stable as a saturated dilute solution of about 1WM. Attempts to increase the concentration of Si(OH), lead to precipitation of a solid phase in which it condenses to form silica gels, SiO,OH,,,,, where n varies from close to 0 to close to 2.

4). Clearly, control at this level of sophistication is ultimately the result of genetic processes acting on the regulation and organization of biochemical reactions at the molecular level. The formation of diatom frustules, reticular structures in radiolaria, curved rods for lorica construction in choanoflagellates, and spicules for deterrence in sponges and plants, are all examples of the important interrelationships between mineral structure and biological function in eukaryotic cells. In contrast, no silicified structures have yet been observed in the monera.

These hydroxylated aromatic groups could bind Si covalently, while sugars will bind through H-bonds. The existence of defined silicon compounds either in soils or in living organisms is not proven. From Sposito (1984) with permission. 30 WILLIAMS Methods of study of silica structures Given the problems of the study of amorphous materials, we must constantly look for new methods. The traditional tools are the electron microscope for an overview (Mann & Williams 1982) and infrared spectroscopy for a more detailed examination of Si-OH and 0 - H bonds (Iler 1979).

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