The first human trials are about to begin to see whether Rattan can be used as a leg replacment material due to the similarity of the structure of Rattan to the human bone.
(Left - Human bone, Right - Rattan)
Researchers also believe it could be used to replace metal and other artificial substitutes.
'The processing of the raw wood to remove chemical components incompatible with implants for humans is long and complex but the benefits of producing a material that is so similar to bone and can be shaped to fit perfectly far outweigh such issues,' the team from the National Research Council of Italy say, writing in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management.
The process they have developed involves heat treatment of the wood to remove cellulose, lignin and other plant materials but leaving behind a carbon skeleton that can then be infiltrated and reacted with calcium, oxygen and phosphate to make a porous material, chemically and mechanically mimicking bone.
The research team says that unlike metal alloys, ceramics and even donor bone, their patented material is low cost, has very good biomechanics, is biocompatible and can be integrated into existing bone, thus properly assisting bone regeneration.
See the article here: http://bit.ly/WIN3W8