Recycling of Eggshells into Biomaterials for Bone Regeneration
Millions of chicken eggshells are thrown into the garbage every year, which could be a valuable raw material for the production of next-generation biomaterials.
New solutions that will allow eggshells to be recycled into biomaterials for bone regeneration are within reach, due to the collaboration of scientists from Riga Technical University (RTU), University of Oslo, Reykjavik University, Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech). These scientists are working together in the EEA funded project: «Waste-to-Resource: Eggshells as a Source for Next-Generation Biomaterials for Bone Regeneration».
It is the calcium in the eggshells that is of particular interest to us says Håvard Jostein Haugen, professor at the University of Oslo explaining why eggshells are so interesting. Synthesized properly in the lab, the calcium from the eggshell can be transformed into Amorphous calcium phosphates (ACP), a component that can replace the inorganic part of the bone, he explains furthermore.
In addition, to fully process chicken eggshells into high value-added products, proteins with high bioactive content and antibacterial properties will be extracted from eggshell membranes, says the Dagnija Loča, Head of RTU Rudolfs Cimdins Riga Biomaterials Innovation and Development Centre. As a result, it will be possible to make porous, natural bone-like ceramic scaffolds with improved properties.
Each partner will work on a different aspect of the projects, says Håvard Haugen. RTU scientists will synthesize amorphous calcium phosphates, partners from TalTech will form macroporous ACP ceramic substrates, while scientists in Oslo and Reykjavik will characterize and assess biocompatibility so that in perspective obtained constructs can be used in the production of implantable materials.
The largest producer of eggs and egg products in Northern Europe, Balticovo will provide the scientists with eggshells for research purposes.
Eggshells are an essential by-product from the production of boiled peeled eggs, the liquid mass of eggs and other high value-added products. With an increasing focus on sustainable activity and the implementation of the principles of circular economy at our plant, we are thinking about every detail where and how to use everything that comes from the production process more effectively. The recycling of eggshells is complicated and often expensive, so we are highly interested in looking for the best ways to use them. We are particularly pleased that we can help to develop science and help to create innovative and high value-added products from eggshells, thus it is genuinely rewarding to cooperate with RTU scientists in providing them with shells of different eggs for research purposes,» stated Director of Communication and Development at Balticovo Toms Auškāps.
About the project
«Waste-to-Resource: Eggshells as a Source for Next-Generation Biomaterials for Bone Regeneration» (Nr. EEA-RESEARCH-85) is one of the projects of Baltic Research programme, which is funded by the European Economic Area and Norway grants. The project will be implemented until 2024.