The marine environment is rich with mineralizing organisms of porous structures, some of which are currently being used as bone graft materials and others are used in their early stages of development for bone repair. Some species of red algae (phylum Rhodophyta), specifically a group of coralline algae deposits calcium carbonate, have been used in bone tissue engineering (Clarke et al., 2011).
Felicio-Fernandes et al. (2000) reported that calcium phosphate compounds such as hydroxyapatite were prepared by hydrothermal synthesis with phycogenic CaCO3 as starting material. They showed that it may be suitable for use as a biomaterial. The biogenic material was obtained from algae of the Rodophycophyta. Calcium carbonate for the synthesis of calcium phosphates similar to bone can be obtained from several natural sources. Only the calcium carbonate originating from marine algae and corals shows characteristic porosity and interconnectivity that makes it like human bone.
Manufacture cell-seeded three-dimensional bone constructs based on hydroxyapatite ceramic granule calcified from red algae and mesenchy-mal cambial-layer precursor cells have been investigated by Turhani et al. (2005). The results showed that these 3D composites might possess suitable properties for bone reconstruction of the maxillofacial region in vivo and provide new insights into the development of novel strategies of bone tissue engineering. They conclude a positive effect of hydroxyapatite ceramic granules on mesenchymal cambial-layer precursor cell behavior in cell-seeded three-dimensional bone constructs.
Walsh et al. (2008) investigated a bioceramic from algal origin, which is suitable for bone tissue application. These reports confirmed the successful conversion of mineralized red alga to hydroxyapatite, via low-pressure hydrothermal process. Further, the synthesized hydroxyapatite maintained the unique microporous structure of the original algae, which is considered beneficial in bone repair applications. Investigations on hydrothermal transformation of mineralized red algae were performed by Walsh et al. (2010), which are shown to be a suitable candidate for conversion to calcium phosphate ceramics in terms of its physiochem-ical properties to hydroxyapatite that preserves the algae's unique structure. The optimum processing parameters for the thermal heat treatment were found to be in the range of 600-650 °C, with a ramp rate of 2 °C min~1. These parameters are considered as a well-strategized approach for hydrothermal conversion of Corallina officinalis to hydroxyapatite.
Calcium is an essential mineral to support bone health and serves as a major therapeutic intervention to prevent and delay the incidence of osteoporosis. Adluri et al. (2010) examined the effect of a novel plant-based calcium supplement from marine algae, which additionally contains high levels of Magnesium and other bone-supporting minerals [commercially known as AlgaeCal (AC)]. These supplements have potential effect on proliferation, mineralization, and oxidative stress in cultured human osteoblast cells and compared with inorganic calcium carbonate and calcium citrate salts. The results demonstrated that AC can serve as a superior and bioavailable calcium supplement than the inorganic calcium sources, and the effect of AC may be due to its content of other bone-supporting minerals and their influence on ALP, DNA synthesis, helping in the proliferation and mineralization of the osteoblast cells.
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