Found at both ends. Barium sulfate crystals in constant movement. Long thought to be calcium sulfate. Movement not brownian. Barium sulfate is insoluble in water. Perhaps used as statolith (gravity sensor).This guy likes to move around:
1. Selectivity in biomineralization of barium and strontium. Krejci MR, Wasserman B, Finney L, McNulty I, Legnini D, Vogt S, Joester D. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, 2220 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208, USA; X-ray Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, IL 60439, USA. The desmid green alga Closterium moniliferum belongs to a small number of organisms that form barite (BaSO(4)) or celestite (SrSO(4)) biominerals. The ability to sequester Sr in the presence of an excess of Ca is of considerable interest for the remediation of (90)Sr from the environment and nuclear waste. While most cells dynamically regulate the concentration of the second messenger Ca(2+) in the cytosol and various organelles, transport proteins rarely discriminate strongly between Ca, Sr, and Ba. Herein, we investigate how these ions are trafficked in C. moniliferum and how precipitation of (Ba,Sr)SO(4) crystals occurs in the terminal vacuoles. Towards this goal, we simultaneously visualize intracellular dynamics of multiple elements using X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM) of cryo-fixed/freeze-dried samples. We correlate the resulting elemental maps with ultrastructural information gleaned from freeze-fracture cryo-SEM of frozen-hydrated cells and use micro X-ray absorption near edge structure (micro-XANES) to determine sulfur speciation. We find that the kinetics of Sr uptake and efflux depend on external Ca concentrations, and Sr, Ba, and Ca show similar intracellular localization. A highly ion-selective cross-membrane transport step is not evident. Based on elevated levels of sulfate detected in the terminal vacuoles, we propose a "sulfate trap" model, where the presence of dissolved barium leads to preferential precipitation of (Ba,Sr)SO(4) due to its low solubility relative to SrSO(4) and CaSO(4). Engineering the sulfate concentration in the vacuole may thus be the most direct way to increase the Sr sequestered per cell, an important consideration in using desmids for phytoremediation of (90)Sr.