Researchers develop process to get bone implant material from eggshells

Researchers from Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H) and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, have developed process of synthesizing bone implant materials from eggshells. Through this process bone substitute materials such as tricalcium phosphate, a commonly-used bone substitute material can be produced from natural sources.

Background: In modern medicine, missing and damaged 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, which are produced by using harmful chemicals.

About new process

Pure and thermally stable tricalcium phosphate nanopowder (powder a hundred thousand times smaller than the width of a single human hair) was synthesised from eggshells. It was obtained by using milling process called ‘ball milling’ to produce these activated calcium phosphate powders.

Why Eggshells? They are made of largely of minerals (95.1%) including calcium along with small amounts of proteins and water. Calcium is main mineral component of bone substitute materials.

Benefits of this process: Eggshell waste can help to replace commercially available tricalcium phosphate (produced by using harmful chemicals) and has capability to develop implantable biomaterial for tissue regeneration. Moreover, eggshells are inexpensive and can be obtained in unlimited quantities. Nioceramics made from eggshells exhibit greater biocompatibility than other synthetic powders due to presence of additional bioactive elemental ions.