A comparative study of thai and Australian crocodile bone for use as a potential biomaterial

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Journal Article
Key Engineering Materials, 2006, 309-311 I pp. 15 - 18
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This study aims to characterize the structure and properties of crocodile bone to assess the potential for use in biomedical applications. Crocodile bone samples obtained from Thailand (Crocodylus siamensis) and Australia (Crocodylus porosus), being the tail and the tibia respectively, were treated to remove organic material and the inner spongy (trabecular) material. The dense cortical bone was used for comparative instrumental analyses. Specific comparisons were made against bovine cortical bone and pure synthetic hydroxyapatite. The material was then analyzed using simultaneous differential thermal analysis/thermogravimetric analysis (DTA/TGA), Fourier-Transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD). Imaging of full bone samples was also conducted using an environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM). The SEM provided valuable information through the imaging of samples, showing a marked increase in bone porosity for crocodile material when compared to bovine samples. The crystallinity and/or crystallite size of carbonated hydroxyapatite has been found to be lower than synthetic apatite, with the tibia being the least crystalline of the bone types studied. The crystallinity index (CI) is used as a measure of crystallite size and internal strain. The strain is affected by substitutions in the structure and these results provide a starting point for comparison of the resulting mechanical properties. There is a need for any biomaterial chosen for bone replacement to allow adequate osteointegration. Thus the study this far shows that crocodile bone is a very promising source of carbonated apatite for biomedical applications.
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