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Millions of chicken egg-shells are thrown into the garbage every year, which could be a valuable raw material for the production of next-generation biomaterials. Scientists at Riga Technical University (RTU) Rudolfs Cimdins Riga Biomaterials Innovation and Development Centre within the frame of international project will develop new solutions that will allow shells to be recycled into biomaterials for bone regeneration.
«Eggshells will be used as a raw material – source of calcium – for the synthesis of amorphous calcium phosphates (ACP). Amorphous calcium phosphates synthesised in a laboratory may replace the inorganic part of the bone, which means that they can be used to treat bone fractures and various other diseases related to the loss of bone mass. 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. As a result, it will be possible to make porous, natural bone-like ceramic scaffolds with improved properties» says the Head of RTU Rudolfs Cimdins Riga Biomaterials Innovation and Development Centre Dagnija Loča.
She leads a new international project «Waste-to-Resource: Eggshells as a Source for Next-Generation Biomaterials for Bone Regeneration», that was launched today. Scientists from RTU, University of Oslo, Reykjavik University and Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) have joined to work on the project. 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 RTU 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 egg shells 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.
«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 till 2024.
RTU Faculty of Materials Science and Applied Chemistry, Rudolfs Cimdins Riga Biomaterials Innovations and Development Centre is the largest and most advanced biomaterial research centre in the Baltics, with great experience in the synthesis and research of new implantable materials. It also develops eco materials for environmental technologies.