Researchers are claiming that the calcium carbonate found in eggshells could be great for the treatment of bone damage.
Eggshells are probably the most discarded and insignificant items in most kitchens. Apart from housing the white and yolk, they present very little usefulness and are simply trashed whenever broken.
However, the solid exterior of what's usually part of a top breakfast is made up entirely of calcium carbonate, a substance crucial to the maintenance of bone health. Some of the persons who are aware of this fact crush the shells into a powder and ingest it as a natural calcium source for their bones.
The practice is risky, though, as eggshells could be contaminated by the Salmonella enteritidis bacterium.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Lowell have conducted a study in which eggshells were pulverized and used to create a biomaterial that helps regenerate damaged bones.
The study's findings have been published in the journal Biomaterial Sciences, which notes that the process was used to form a medium that can assist the growth of new bone tissue. The substance wasn't tested on humans but the scientists are hopeful the biomaterial could one day help persons with bone problems.
"This is the first study that uses eggshell particles in a hydrogel matrix for bone repair," professor Gulden Camci-Unal remarked. "She also explains that she and her team have already taken the next steps toward bringing their findings to humans.
"We have already filed a patent for it and are very excited about our results. We anticipate the process can be adapted for use in many significant ways.
The researchers also reckon the use of eggshells for treating bone defects and growing bone tissue for transplants could also reduce waste.
"Global waste of discarded eggshells typically amounts to millions of tons annually from household and commercial cooking," the paper states. "Innovative repurposing of eggshells can directly impact the economy and environment, while providing enhanced solutions to unmet clinical needs."