DETROIT, May 16, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nano Labs Corp. has announced the development of a new nanotechnology to convert eggshells into hydroxyapatite, a material employed for endodontics, restorative dentistry, and other applications in orthopedics and prosthesis.
Bone and teeth are formed of an organic component, collagen, and a mineral phase, hydroxyapatite, which is a ceramic material also known as a bone mineral. It is found in teeth and bones and makes up to 50% of bone by weight.
Hydroxyapatite is the main mineral used in dental enamel and is also commonly used as a filler to replace amputated bone or as a coating to promote bone ingrowth into prosthetic implants. Many modern implants (ie, dental implants and hip replacements) are coated with hydroxyapatite and it is one of the key materials for developing bone grafts with bioactive nature.
Nano Labs' technology consists of a method that converts eggshells into hydroxyapatite. Hydroxyapatite (HAp) is produced through a hydrothermal conversion with the agro-industry byproduct, eggshells. Commercial grade calcium dibasic phosphate (CaHPO4.2H2O) and lime (CaO) are obtained from direct calcination of the eggshells.
HAp has been extensively studied and used as a conventional replacement material in different medical applications. In this particular case, the main advantage of our method is that the hydroxyapatite obtained has high crystallinity and excellent homogeneity. In previous works, different inventions have prepared hydroxyapatite from natural organisms, from a wide variety of natural sources, ranging from marine coral to starfish, and from mineral materials such as aragonite.
In the Company's present work, the use of eggshell as the source of CaCO3 for the synthesis of hydroxyapatite by hydrothermal methods, where eggshells represent a byproduct of the poultry industry which is not utilized and represents a source of waste. In a minor proportion, this material is used as fertilizer or animal foodstuff, but in a great proportion, the product gets converted into waste. In Mexico, for example, nearly 480,000 tons per year of eggshell are generated as human waste. In the USA, 550,000,000 dozen eggs were produced monthly in 2006.
In the Company's tests, eggshells from chicken farms were cleaned, filtered, dried, ground and treated to produce a source of CaO. The hydroxyapatite was then prepared by hydrothermal synthesis from commercial calcium dibasic phosphate (CaHPO4) and the CaO. The BET-measured specific surface area of this material was 50 m2/g, with an average particle size of 0.06 μm. The latter is important for the material to be used in clinical applications, not only for chemical composition but also for microstructure, e.g., grain size, pore size, and porosity, which is properly tailored for performance and enhanced by using other nano phases in the composition. The resulting physico-chemical characteristics of the HAp obtained make it suitable for dental prosthesis applications, which the Company is currently under way testing.
"Our technology to transform eggshells into hydroxyapatite offers the medical and dental industry a natural product that can produce a high-quality product line," states Mr. Bernardo Camacho Chavarria, President of Nano Labs. "The industry is constantly looking for new differentiating features to distinguish their products from the competition. And of course, quality is always a top consideration. We are currently introducing the product to a potential partner who has the infrastructure and the financial and marketing resources to roll out to its customer base. We look forward to announcing this potential partnership in the form of an 8K filing in the near future."