Eggshells used to synthesise natural bone implant material

Nanopowder may replace commercially available substitute
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H) and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, have developed a process by which bone implant materials can be synthesised from eggshells. The research seeks to produce bone substitute materials such as tricalcium phosphate, a commonly-used bone substitute material, from natural sources. Eggshells are made of largely of minerals (95.1%) along with small amounts of proteins and water. Calcium is the main mineral component. “Millions of tonnes of eggshells are dumped as waste across the world but bioceramics made from them exhibit greater biocompatibility than other synthetic powders due to the presence of additional bioactive elemental ions. Eggshells are inexpensive and can be obtained in unlimited quantities,” said research student R. Uday Kiran, department of biomedical engineering, IIT-H. In modern medicine, damaged and missing bones are replaced with bone from either the patient or a donor or by using artificial materials containing calcium, such as Plaster of Paris, and more recently, phosphate compounds like hydroxyapatite and calcium phosphate. For their study, researchers synthesised pure and thermally stable tricalcium phosphate nanopowder — powder a hundred thousand times smaller than the width of a single human hair — from eggshells. They used a milling process called ‘ball milling’ to produce these activated calcium phosphate powders. Results showed that eggshell waste is promising enough to replace the commercially available tricalcium phosphate (produced by using harmful chemicals) and has the capability to develop implantable biomaterial for tissue regeneration, according to the research paper published in Ceramics International .
The paper was co-authored by Mahesh Kumar Sah, Subha Narayan Rath and Bharat B. Panigrahi.

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