A team of researchers from the Center for Biomedical Technology at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, in collaboration with Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales and Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry from the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (all Spain), have developed biocompatible materials from food-industry waste, such as apple pomace. These biomaterials could be used as 3D supports for the regeneration of bone and cartilage tissues in the treatment of osteoporosis, arthritis or osteoarthritis.
75% of apples can be converted into juice and the rest, known as apple pomace and containing approximately 20–30% dried matter, is utilized mainly as animal feed or for compost. However, in this study, the pomace was subjected to sequential extractions of different molecules, such as antioxidants or pectin. From the waste obtained, a biomaterial with suitable porosity and texture to be utilized in tissue engineering was prepared.
It was observed that even after the rigorous treatment of the pomace, the resultant material could still be designed with adequate structure, texture and composition to grow diverse types of cells, such as osteoblasts and chondrocytes. Utilizing the materials developed here, the researchers are now studying new technological applications that will allow them to utilize 3D printing to structure customized biomaterials.
Sources: Yates M, Gomez MR, Martin-Luengo MA, Ibanez VZ, Serrano AMM. Multivalorization of apple pomace towards materials and chemicals. Waste to wealth. J Clean Prod, 143, 847-853 (2017); http://www.upm.es/internacional/UPM/UPM_Channel/Research_News/595be13b3ae1b510VgnVCM10000009c7648aRCRD