Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad and Dr.B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT) Jalandhar have developed a process using which bone implant material can be made from eggshells. The main aim of the researchers is to produce bone substitute materials such as Beta-tricalcium phosphate (Beta-TCP) without the use of toxic chemicals. Beta-TCP is commonly used bone substitute material.
Eggshells are largely made of calcium containing minerals along with a trace amount of proteins and water.
In modern medical procedures, damaged or missing bones are replaced either with other bones from patient or donor or using artificial material such as Plaster of Paris or phosphate compounds like hydroxyapatite and calcium phosphate.
The research paper on using eggshells was co-authored by Mr. Roopavath Uday Kiran, PhD Student, Department of Biomedical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad, Dr. Mahesh Kumar Sah, Assistant Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Dr B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology - Jalandhar, Dr. Bharat B. Panigrahi, Associate professor, Department of Material Science and Metallurgical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad and Dr. Subha Narayan Rath, Associate professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad. The paper was published in the March 2019 issue of the Ceramics International journal which is a reputed peer-review journal.
Explaining this research, Mr. Roopavath Uday Kiran said, "There is always some hesitancy in using synthetic chemicals as bone replacement materials because of the presence of chemical residues that are toxic if not eliminated completely. Beta-tricalcium phosphate (beta-TCP), for example, is synthesized using nitrate compounds, which if present even in traces, could be dangerous."
Further, speaking on his choice of eggshell for this research, Mr. Roopavath Uday Kiran added, "Bioceramics made from eggshell wastes are predicted to exhibit greater biocompatibility than other synthetic powders due to the presence of additional bioactive elemental ions inherently present in the eggshell. Eggshells are not only biocompatible but are also inexpensive and can be obtained in unlimited quantities; millions of tons of eggshells are dumped as waste across the world."