is abundant in the earths crust and forms tetravalent
structures similar to that of carbon. However, silicons
role in biology is much more limited than that of carbon.
Some marine organisms have evolved the ability to biosynthesize exquisitely-structured
silicate shells. The
"silicate" bacteria, which appear to be members or relatives of the genus Bacillus, are known to release silicon from aluminosilicates through the
secretion of organic acids (reviewed by Groudev, 1999). Microbes and microbial enzymes have been used in the biotransformation of organosilicon
compounds (reviewed by Tacke and Becker, 1987 and Tacke and Wagner, 1998). Biodegradation of organosilicone under aerobic (Sabourin et al, 1996) and anaerobic (Grumping et al, 1999)
conditions has been described.
For more information:
Medline for silicon metabolism AND bacteria
Tacke R, Becker B. Sila substitution and biotransformatin of organosilicon compounds. Main Group Metal Chem. 1987;10(3):169-97.
Tacke R, Wagner SA. p. 2363-2400. In Rappoport Z, Apeloig Y (eds.), Chemistry of Organic Silicon Compounds. Wiley;
Chichester, UK. 1998.
Groudev SN. Biobeneficiation of mineral raw materials. Min Metallurg Process. 1999 Nov;16(4):19-28.