It has been developed a revolutionary hydrogel based on eggshells that could revolutionize bone growth for people who need grafts following accidents, diseases, aging and devastating war wounds. American scientists from various departments of the University of Massachusetts Lowell have developed this. The researchers, coordinated by Professor Gulden Camci-Unal, professor at Department of Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology of the Massachusetts University, have chosen eggshells as they are rich in calcium carbonate, an element found in bone at 12 percent (the most abundant is calcium phosphate with 86%).
After shredding the eggshells, the scientists inserted the particles into a sort of hydrogel, designed to act as a "scaffolding" where bone grafts grow in the laboratory. Inside it, the cells taken from the patient's bone are inserted to obtain maximum biological compatibility and therefore reduce the risk of rejection to a minimum. Camci-Unal and colleagues observed that when eggshell "flour" was added to the hydrogel, the growth of bone tissue was not only much faster, but the biological material obtained was also harder and therefore resistant to fractures.
"This is the first study that uses eggshell particles in a hydrogel matrix for bone repair. We have already filed the patent and we are very excited about the results obtained. We expect the process to be adapted for use in many significant ways", said the lead author of the research. The researchers also highlighted the considerable sustainability profile of their study, given that millions of tons of egg shells are discarded every year. For scientists, in fact, they are an excellent solution to satisfy the clinical need for bone tissue, which can be stronger and faster growing thanks to them. Details of the research have been published in the specialized scientific journal Biomaterials Science.