A residue called bagasse that is generated during the production process of beer It has been used by researchers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) to develop biocompatible materials to regenerate bones.
Like the bones, the residues of beer production contain phosphorus, silica and magnesium, and after being modified can be used as supports or matrices to cover prostheses, bone grafts, and even dental implants.
Researchers have proven that bone cells can adhere to these new biocompatible materials to grow and proliferate, reaching the same maturity as when they do on synthetic materials.
Researchers have used the bagasse, which is obtained between 17 and 23 kilos per hectoliter of beer that is made, and which is used to make feed for livestock, and have applied various treatments to get a material rich in phosphorus, silicon, calcium and magnesium, whose porosity is similar to that of cancellous bone, which would facilitate adequate vascularization after implantation.
These experts have also analyzed the materials they have developed to check that they are biocompatible, and that the osteoblasts - the bone cells- can adhere to them to grow and proliferate, reaching the same maturity as when they do on synthetic materials that are normally used to replace bone.
The new biocompatible materials could be an alternative to the synthetic materials that are now used in the treatment of bone disorders, and have the advantage that their manufacture is less expensive and less aggressive for the environment.