Biomineralisation: avian eggs in focus

Eggs and derived products form an integral part of the food chain. Hence, research into egg structure, function, and production is prevalent. The past decade has seen more than two thousand papers published in relation to avian egg science, these works supplem enting our understanding of the nature of the avian egg, and its biological, chemical, and physical properties. Eggshell colour, strength and chemical composition, poultry nutrition, and genetics and have all been intensively studied recently, with signifi cant progress being made in a number of these areas. Indeed, with the prevalence of robust theoretical techniques, it is now commonplace to combine experimental investigations with theory, providing a balanced and interdisciplinary perspective. There is, h owever, still a gulf of understanding in terms of the structure and formation of the avian egg. In particular, the manner in which the shell itself begins to form on the outer albumin, and the fascinating properties it exhibits.