Researchers discover why tendons are strong as wire ropes

Under the electron microscope: collagen fiber bundle after mineralization with (the bone mineral) calcium phosphate.

Under the electron microscope: collagen fiber bundle after mineralization with (the bone mineral) calcium phosphate. © Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung

A team at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (MPICI) has discovered with help of BESSY II new properties of collagen: During the intercalation of minerals in collagen fibers, a contraction tension is generated that is hundreds of times stronger than muscle strength. The associated changes in the collagen structure were observed using X-ray diffraction at the BESSY II synchrotron in Berlin-Adlershof while mineralization was taking place.

"This universal mechanism of mineralization of organic fiber tissues could be transferred to technical hybrid materials, for example, to achieve high breaking strength there," says Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c. Peter Fratzl, Director at the institute.

The fiber-forming structural protein collagen is found in tendons, skin and bones, among other places. It is also interesting from a medical or biological point of view to understand what happens in the process of mineralization in bones. Many bone diseases are associated with changes in mineral content in bones and thus altered properties.

Read the full press release on the MPIKG website.

(red/sz)


You might also be interested in

  • New joint leadership for BESSY II
    News
    13.06.2024
    New joint leadership for BESSY II
    Andreas Jankowiak as new Technical Director and Facility Spokesperson Antje Vollmer share management responsibilities

    Prof. Andreas Jankowiak has been appointed Technical Director of BESSY II with a term of office of three years as of 1 June 2024 by resolution of the HZB board of directors. Antje Vollmer will start her second term as BESSY II Facility Spokesperson on 1 July 2024. Together, they form the new management duo to coordinate the scientific and technical development of the BESSY II X-ray source on behalf of the HZB management.

  • Chilean President visits Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
    News
    12.06.2024
    Chilean President visits Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
    The President of Chile, Gabriel Boric Font, visited HZB on Tuesday with a delegation of 50 people. Among the highlights of the evening were the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Chilean Corporation for the Promotion of Production (CORFO) and HZB and a visit to BESSY II light source.
  • Alkanes, laser flashes and BESSY's X-ray vision
    Science Highlight
    31.05.2024
    Alkanes, laser flashes and BESSY's X-ray vision
    An international research team has succeeded in observing an intermediate step in the catalysis of alkanes. By understanding these reactions, existing catalysts can be optimized in the future and new ones found, for example to convert the greenhouse gas methane into valuable raw materials for industry.