Synthesis of a bone like composite material derived from waste pearl oyster shells for potential bone tissue bioengineering applications

Ravi Krishna Brundavanam, Derek Fawcett, Gérrard Eddy Jai Poinern


Background: Hydroxyapatite is generally considered a viable substitute for bone in a number of medical procedures such as bone repair, bone augmentation and coating metal implants. Unfortunately, hydroxyapatite has poor mechanical properties that make it unsuitable for many load bearing applications.

Methods: In the present work various grades of finely crushed Pinctada maxima (pearl oyster shell) were combined with a nanometer scale hydroxyapatite powder to form novel composite materials. A comparative study was made between the various powder based composites synthesized. The crystalline structure and morphology of the various powder based composites were investigated using X-ray diffraction and field emission scanning electron microscopy. The composite materials were also evaluated and characterized.

Results: Manufactured hydroxyapatite powders were composed of crystalline spherical/granular particles with a mean size of 30 nm. Also produced were hydroxyapatite and finely crushed calcium carbonate from Pinctada maxima (pearl oyster shell) powder mixtures. Hydroxyapatite coatings produced on Pinctada maxima nacre substrates were investigated and their surface characteristics reported.

Conclusions: Pinctada maxima nacre pre-treated with sodium hypo chlorate before hydroxyapatite deposition produced a superior coating and could be used for bone tissue engineering. But further in vitro and in vivo studies are needed to validate the biocompatibility and long term stability of this composite coating.


Biocompatible, Nano-hydroxyapatite, Oyster shells, Ultrasonic irradiation

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