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The tendons in the turkey leg have specific well-defined areas which become mineralized as the animal ages and they are a thoroughly characterized model system for studying the mineralization process of bone. In this study, nondestructive Raman spectroscopic analysis was used to explore the hypothesis that regions of the turkey tendon that are associated with mineralization exhibit distinct and observable chemical modifications of the collagen prior to the onset of mineralization. The Raman spectroscopy features associated with mineralization were identified by probing (on the micrometer scale) the transition zone between mineralized and nonmineralized regions of turkey leg tendons. These features were then measured in whole tendons and identified in regions of tendon which are destined to become rapidly mineralized around 14 weeks of age. The data show there is a site-specific difference in collagen prior to the deposition of mineral, specifically the amide III band at 1270 cm(-1) increases as the collagen becomes more ordered (increased amide III:amide I ratio) in regions that become mineralized compared to collagen destined to remain nonmineralized. If this mechanism were present in materials of different mineral fraction (and thus material properties), it could provide a target for controlling mineralization in metabolic bone disease.

Original publication





Analytical chemistry

Publication Date





1559 - 1563


Lancaster Medical School, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University , Lancaster, Lancashire LA1 4YW, U.K.


Tendons, Animals, Turkeys, Minerals, Amides, Collagen, Proteins, Spectrum Analysis, Raman