Technological watch

New Combination Enhances Bone Tissue Engineering Biomaterial

By Marzia KhanFeb 10 2022Reviewed by Megan Craig, M.Sc.A novel study published within  illustrates the use of graphene oxide as a potential candidate in the field of bone tissue engineering due to its antibacterial properties.

Study: Synthesis of a graphene oxide/agarose/hydroxyapatite biomaterial with the evaluation of antibacterial activity and initial cell attachment. Image Credit: Choksawatdikorn/

The article aimed to further the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering through nanotechnology incorporation using a novel biomaterial.

The Importance of Bone Tissue EngineeringBone tissue engineering (BTE) focuses on increasing bone regeneration and repair through the synthesis of substitutions to conventional bone grafting materials.

This is significant due to the clinical applications in different areas of medicine, for transplants as well as for including dentistry through socket preservation, alveolar ridge augmentation, as well as guided bone regeneration.

Natural bone found within the body is consists of a non-mineralized organic component that is mainly type-1 collagen as well as a mineralized inorganic component, such as carbonated apatite minerals.

The challenge of bone tissue engineering is having the ideal scaffold, that should be analogous to the natural bone as well as provide the optimum microenvironment that ensures cell growth.

The composition of these materials requires an alteration to imitate natural bone, with macromolecules being used as organic substrates and hydroxyapatite (HA) being used for the inorganic substrate; these components are mixed within suitable proportions to imitate the ratio of the organic and inorganic composition of natural bone tissue.

This matching and imitation to native bone tissue are considered to be one of the most challenging aspects of bone tissue engineering, with a lack of natural interaction with native tissue as well as having poor mechanical properties to serve clinical applications effectively.

Figure 1. SEM micrographs of formed crystals treated with different strength of electric current. (A) 5 mA; (B) 8 mA; (C) 10 mA; (D) 12 mA. © Khosalim, I., Zhang, Y., Yiu, C. and Wong, H., (2022)

Challenges of BTE Materials Natural, synthetic, bioceramic and metal materials have previously been used in BTE, however, their limitations can prove to be a challenge for clinical applications.

Natural materials consist of collagen, chitosan, and alginate; however, their weak mechanical properties and fast degradation illustrate their limitation for the formation of hard tissue.

Synthetic materials can include polycaprolactone, polylactic acid and polyglycolic acid, which releases acidic products during the degradation process, resulting in the unfortunate formation of tissue necrosis.

Bioceramic materials comprise calcium phosphate bioceramic, hydroxyapatite, β-tricalcium phosphate, and bioactive glass.

These materials have drawbacks such as being challenging to shape due to being extremely brittle, stiff, as well as having low flexibility and poor molding properties. This adds to the profile of these materials being mechanically weak.

Other BTE materials include metals such as titanium and magnesium and their associated alloys which lack the potential for drug delivery applications. Apart from magnesium and its alloys, these materials do not degrade. 

Related Stories

Publication date: 10/02/2022



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.