Potential Influences of Bacterial Cell Surfaces and Nano-Sized Cell Fragments on Struvite Biomineralization




McLean, Robert J. C.
Brown, Erin T.

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute


Struvite (MgNH4PO4·6H2O) calculi are formed as a result of urinary tract infections by Proteus mirabilis and other urease-producing bacteria. During struvite formation, the bacteria grow as biofilms, and thus crystals are formed in close association with bacterial cell surfaces and biofilm matrix components. Small nano-sized objects (originally termed “nanobacteria”) have been described in association with urinary calculi including struvite calculi. A much more likely explanation of these nano-structures is outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) that can be produced by P. mirabilis and other Gram-negative bacteria. In this brief review, we describe the association of bacterial cell surfaces and biofilm matrix components with metal binding and the generation of chemical microenvironments during struvite formation; we propose potential mechanisms whereby OMVs can influence struvite crystal growth and biomineralization.



bacterial cell surfaces, polysaccharides, nanobacteria, outer membrane vesicles, lipopolysaccharide, proteus mirabilis, biofilm, microenvironment, Biology


McLean, R. J. C., & Brown, E. T. (2020). Potential influences of bacterial cell surfaces and nano-sized cell fragments on struvite biomineralization. Crystals, 10(8), 706.


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