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Bone. 1999 Apr;24(4):361-9.

Crystal alignment of carbonated apatite in bone and calcified tendon: results from quantitative texture analysis.

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  • 1Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.


Calcified tissue contains collagen associated with minute crystallites of carbonated apatite. In this study, methods of quantitative X-ray texture analysis were used to determine the orientation distribution and texture strength of apatite in a calcified turkey tendon and in trabecular and cortical regions of osteonal bovine ankle bone (metacarpus). To resolve local heterogeneity, a 2 or 10 microm synchrotron microfocus X-ray beam (lambda = 0.78 A) was employed. Both samples revealed a strong texture. In the case of turkey tendon, 12 times more c axes of hexagonal apatite were parallel to the fibril axis than perpendicular, and a axes had rotational freedom about the c axis. In bovine bone, the orientation density of the c axes was three times higher parallel to the surface of collagen fibrils than perpendicular to it, and there was no preferential alignment with respect to the long axis of the bone (fiber texture). Whereas half of the apatite crystallites were strongly oriented, the remaining half had a random orientation distribution. The synchrotron X-ray texture results were consistent with previous analyses of mineral orientation in calcified tissues by conventional X-ray and neutron diffraction and electron microscopy, but gave, for the first time, a quantitative description.

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