Bones built from beer brewing waste

Spanish scientists have developed a new biomaterial from waste discarded after beer brewing which can be used to regenerate human bones.

A pint of beer

Research was carried out in collaboration by the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, the Institute of Materials Science and the Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, together with Spanish brewer Mahou.

Scientists discovered that “bagasse”, a residue left over from beer brewing, could be used to create a new biomaterial capable of promoting bone regeneration, and which could be used to treat bone diseases, assist in bone grafts and coat a prosthesis.

The material, made up of the main components of bone, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and silica, could serve as an alternative to prosthesis bones, which are typically made from processed sheep bones or synthetic materials which are more expensive and harmful to the environment.

In a statement, researchers said: “The waste obtained from the beer brewing process contains the main chemical components found in bones (phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and silica), that after undergoing modification processes, this waste can be used as support or scaffold to promote bone regeneration for medical applications such as coating prosthesis or bone grafts.

“The waste usage from the food industry is a great source of raw material recovery rich in chemical diversity, and simultaneously it can reduce the impact generated by the accumulation of waste in the environment.”

Bagasse is an organic waste produced from malt which is discarded by brewers, making it very cheap and readily available.

“The treatments applied to bagasse residue in this research give as a result a new material rich in silicon, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium”, researchers said. “The analysis of this new material shows the presence of interconnected pores of between 50 and 500 microns in diameter which is similar to the porosity of cancellous bone. All this would facilitate the complete vascularization after the bone implant.”

Earlier this year Japanese scientists suggested that hop leaves, discarded during the brewing process, could be used to fight dental diseases.


Research on bone regeneration has been published in the academic journal RSC Advances.



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