Eggshells are made of largely calcium containing minerals (95.1 per cent) along with small amounts of proteins and water.
The use of graft materials to heal bone defects has been known for a long time. Sushruta Samhita, an ancient Sanskrit text on medicine and surgery, describes 'Asthipoorana' or bone grafting in which materials having calcium were combined with the latex of the banyan tree to form bone substitutes.
In modern medicine, damaged and missing bones are replaced with bone from either patient or donor or using artificial materials containing calcium, such as Plaster of Paris, and more recently, phosphate compounds like hydroxyapatite and calcium phosphate.
Since the earliest recorded successful bone transplantation was carried out in 1668 by Van Meek'ren, a Dutch surgeon, more than 50 bone substitutes have been tested and tried.
This research paper has been co-authored by Roopavath Uday Kiran, PhD Student, Department of Biomedical engineering, IIT Hyderabad, Mahesh Kumar Sah, Assistant Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National institute of Technology - Jhalandar, Bharat B. Panigrahi, Associate professor, Department of Material Science and Metallurgical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad and Subha Narayan Rath, Associate professor, Department of Biomedical engineering, IIT Hyderabad.
Their work has been published in the March 2019 issue of the reputed peer-review journal Ceramics International. This project was guided by Subha Narayan Rath and the experiments were conducted by Roopavath Uday kira
"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. I-tricalcium phosphate (I-TCP), for example, is synthesized using nitrate compounds, which if present even in traces, could be dangerous," said Uday Kiran.
"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," he added.