In the egg production industry, large percentage of eggs (approx. 32% in United States, close to 25% in Europe) are diverted to breaker operations - to produce liquid egg products. The by-products of these operations are the eggshell and associated membranes, which constitute approximately 6g/egg. In the US expenses for one breaker plant can exceed even $100,000 per year to dispose the eggshell waste into the landfills. Therefore, egg-based processing companies are highly interested to extract products with potential commercial application from the eggshell waste. During the project we will verify that the technologies for turning the waste (chicken eggshells) into high added value products are available and need to be further developed. We aim to develop a novel concept for conversion of eggshells into the next generation biomaterials for bone regeneration.
While there is a rich literature on conversion of eggshells to calcium phosphates (CaP) such as hydroxyapatite and tricalcium phosphate, conversion to amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) has received little attention that is mainly related to ACP metastability. Within the current project we will use chicken eggshells as a raw material to synthesize ACP with improved stability, that will be for the first time further applied to produce novel porous, bone-like ACP ceramic scaffolds. Moreover, to fully recycle the proposed waste – chicken eggshells into the high added value products, proteins from eggshell membranes will be extracted as they have a high content of bioactive components possessing antibacterial effects and can be further explored as coatings for porous ACP ceramic scaffolds.