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Online Classes :- Current Affairs Part-3

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Rare mineral discovered in plants for first time

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Scientists have found that the mineral vaterite, a form (polymorph) of calcium carbonate, is a dominant component of the protective silvery-white crust that forms on the leaves of a number of alpine plants.

 

Significance of this discovery:

Naturally occurring vaterite is rarely found on Earth. Small amounts of vaterite crystals have been found in some sea and freshwater crustaceans, bird eggs, the inner ears of salmon, meteorites and rocks. This is the first time that the rare and unstable mineral has been found in such a large quantity and the first time it has been found to be associated with plants.

 

About Vaterite:

Vaterite is a mineral, a polymorph of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). It was named after the German mineralogist Heinrich Vater. It is also known as mu-calcium carbonate. Vaterite was often associated with outer space and had been detected in planetary objects in the Solar System and meteorites: Vaterite is not very stable in the Earth’s humid atmosphere as it often reverts to more common forms of calcium carbonate, such as calcite.

 

Potential uses of vaterite:

Vaterite has special properties that make it a potentially superior carrier for medications due to its high loading capacity, high uptake by cells and its solubility properties that enable it to deliver a sustained and targeted release of therapeutic medicines to patients.

Other potential uses of vaterite include improving the cements used in orthopaedic surgery and as an industrial application improving the quality of papers for inkjet printing by reducing the lateral spread of ink.

 

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