Chemical kinetic data, complemented with scanning electron-microscope observations of the crystalline phase, show that seed crystals of hydroxyapatite have the ability to induce the growth of calcium oxalate monohydrate crystals epitaxially from a metastable supersaturated solution of calcium oxalate. The rate of growth of calcium oxalate crystals is dependent on the surface area of the seed material and follows a second-order rate law. It is suggested that there may be a causal relationship between the occurrence of apatite crystals in the urinary tract and the formation of both ‘pure’ and mixed urinary stones containing calcium oxalate. Under similar experimental conditions, however, seed crystals of calcium oxalate monohydrate appeared unable to induce epitaxially the growth of calcium phosphate crystals from a supersaturated calcium phosphate solution, indicating the absence of an epitaxial relationship between calcium oxalate monohydrate and the initially precipitating calcium phosphate phase(s).

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