Posted on Jul 11, 2019, 6 p.m.
Researchers may have given a sustainable and innovative new meaning to the term walking on eggshells, as their in vitro studies and animal studies have shown crushed eggshells may be a sustainable way to fix bone damage.
Eggshells are made entirely of calcium carbonate, which is crucial for maintaining bone health, for this reason many people crush eggshells into a fine powder to use as a natural supplement for their bones. But this common practice does not come without risks as sometimes eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis and if ingested can cause salmonella infections.
As published in the journal Biomaterial Sciences, for the most part the potential benefits of eggshells was untapped until recently when the researchers created an innovative process using finely crushed eggshells to create a biomaterial medium that can help bones to regenerate after having sustained damage.
The medium allowed the researchers from the University of Massachusetts to form a frame in which new bone can form from bone cells, as eggshells are made up of calcium which allows bone cells to develop into bone tissue and harden faster, which could speed up bone graft healing. Although only tested in rats, the researchers believe this should also apply to humans safely by collecting bone cells from those who would be getting the transplant to ensure tissue match and prevent rejection.
Thus far the researchers have conducted in vivo and laboratory studies to test their process of growing new bone tissue by using eggshells, and they believe in the near future their biomaterial could become available for use in humans receiving bone damage treatment which may be applied to growing other types of tissue such as tendons, teeth, and cartilage.
"This is the first study that uses eggshell particles in a hydrogel matrix for bone repair. We have already filed a patent for it and are very excited about our results. We anticipate the process can be adapted for use in many significant ways," notes Camci-Unal.
"Global waste of discarded eggshells typically amounts to millions of tons annually from household and commercial cooking. Innovative repurposing of eggshells can directly impact the economy and environment, while providing enhanced solutions to unmet clinical needs."
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.