Researchers from the Centre for Biomedical Technology of Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM) and the Institute of Materials Science and the Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) have developed biocompatible materials to be used as support for bone regeneration from the food industry waste, mainly bagasse (residue) from beer brewing.
These new materials, developed in collaboration with the Mahou and Createch Co, can be considered as an alternative to the prosthesis made from processed sheep bones or synthetic materials which are more expensive and more harmful to the environment.
The waste obtained from the beer brewing process contains the main chemical components found in bones (phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and silica).
After undergoing modification processes this waste can be used as support or scaffold to promote bone regeneration for medical applications such as coating prosthesis or bone grafts.
So far, the usage of synthetic materials as bone substitutes is the most used therapy for treatment of bone diseases.
The therapeutic strategies are based on stiff porous scaffolds made of biocompatible materials to be used as molds. These molds will provide mechanical stability and will promote the growth of the new bone tissue that helps its regeneration.
The synthetic calcium phosphates are frequently used as matrices and coatings for orthopedic implants because of their resemblance to the composition of a bone.
These materials are often obtained through chemical reactions of complex synthesis that use toxic reagents (for example benzoyl peroxides benzene and aniline) and calcinations at high temperatures close to 1,500 degrees C.
Bagasse is constituted by organic waste from malt, never experiencing modifications afterwards. This is the reason why bagasse is considered a subproduct, commonly used to make fodder and it is inexpensive.
The treatments applied to bagasse residue in the new research produced a new material rich in silicon, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium.
The analysis of this new material shows the presence of interconnected pores of between 50 and 500 microns in diameter which is similar to the porosity of cancellous bone. All this would facilitate the complete vascularisation after the bone implant, researchers said.