Collagen mineralization is a biological process in many skeletal elements in the animal kingdom. Examples of these collagen-based skeletons are the siliceous spicules of glass sponges or the intrafibrillar hydroxyapatite platelets in vertebrates. The mineralization of collagen in vitro has gained interest for two reasons: understanding the processes behind bone formation and the synthesis of scaffolds for tissue engineering. In this paper, the efforts toward collagen mineralization in vitro are reviewed. First, general introduction toward collagen type I, the main component of the extracellular matrix in animals, is provided, followed by a brief overview of collagenous skeletons. Then, the in vitro mineralization of collagen is critically reviewed. Due to their biological abundance, hydroxyapatite and silica are the focus of this review. To a much lesser extent, also some efforts with other minerals are outlined. Combining all minerals and the suggested mechanisms for each mineral, a general mechanism for the intrafibrillar mineralization of collagen is proposed. This review concludes with an outlook for further improvement of collagen-based tissue engineering scaffolds.
- bioinspired materials