Bone is the second most transplanted organ, just after blood. It provides structural support, protection for organs and soft tissues. It holds some critical biological processes such as the bone marrow blood forming system. It is responsible for storing and supplying minerals such calcium and phosphate. Bone is a connective tissue formed by two predominant phases: an inorganic phase containing mainly apatitic calcium and phosphate and an organic phase made of fibrous type I collagen. This natural biocomposite has many biological features such osteoconductivity, osteoinductivity, osteogenicity and is subject to a continuous remodeling process through osteoclastic and osteoblastic activities. In biomedical engineering, the restoration of damaged hard tissue with autologous bone is not always possible or even the best option. The development of some safe and low-cost alternatives such as biocomposites that mimic organic and calcified bone materials have shown very good results and offer an alternative to autologous bone implants. However, the mechanical properties of biocomposites still present a big challenge as a hard tissue substitute. This chapter reviews the properties of bone substitute materials chitosan and calcium phosphates, discusses strategies used in the treatment of calcified hard tissues as well as new approaches developed in this field.
Part of the book: Chitin and Chitosan