Eggshells may help heal teeth and bones
LOWELL, Mass., U.S.: Crushed or pulverized eggshells have many practical uses. They can be used as a natural calcium supplement, a coffee sweetener, a treatment for minor skin irritations and a nontoxic abrasive cleaner, or for garden compost and pest control. Recently, researchers also investigated the use of eggshells as material for bone grafts and for regenerating cartilage, teeth and tendons.
The study, led by Dr. Gulden Camci-Unal of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, found an innovative use for powdered eggshells—which are composed mainly of calcium carbonate crystals—for engineering bone tissue that could lead to improved results for bone repair and healing.
The researchers used microscopic eggshell particles to reinforce gelatin-based hydrogels, which then served as stable 3D scaffolds for growing osteoblasts.
Camci-Unal said that this technique can be applied to treat and repair bones in patients who have suffered injuries due to aging or cancer and other diseases, as well as those injuries resulting from accidents or combat situations. The 3D structure can be used to grow not only bone for bone grafts but also cartilage, teeth and tendons, she added.
“This is the first study that uses eggshell particles in a hydrogel matrix for bone repair,” noted Camci-Unal. “We have already filed a patent application for it earlier this year. We are very excited about our results, and we anticipate a lot of impactful applications of our invention.”
The study, titled “Eggshell particle-reinforced hydrogels for bone tissue engineering: An orthogonal approach,” was published in the July 2019 issue of Biomaterials Science.