Comparative investigation of hydroxyapatite/collagen composites prepared by CaCl2 addition at different time points in collagen self-assembly process


Mineralization of collagen is a common combination process mainly involving collagen self-assembly and hydroxyapatite formation. Previous measurement of turbidity showed that collagen self-assembly follows the nucleation–growth model. In the present study, 1.0 M CaCl2 was mixed with 0.6 mg/mL collagen solution in PBS (10 mM phosphate, 80 mM NaCl, pH 7.2, and T = 35 °C) at the beginning of the lag period, at the beginning of the growth period, at t1/2 (the time to reach half of the total turbidity change), and during the plateau period. Four different hydroxyapatite/collagen (HAp/COL) composites were prepared [COL (1), COL (2), COL (3), and COL (4)]. The optical densities increased with CaCl2 addition, and a wave trough appeared in the mineralization kinetic curves because of amorphous/crystalline conversion. HAp formation was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction measurements. Energy-dispersive spectroscopy results showed that the calcium/phosphorus ratio of COL (2) is close to that of human bone. Images obtained by scanning electron microscopy revealed that nanosized plate-like HAp of COL (2) formed and became uniformly embedded in collagen, whereas HAp formed large clusters in COL (1), COL (3), and COL (4). Quantitation analyses of collagen and HAp incorporated into composites showed that mineralization at different time points promote collagen fibril generation and have little impact on the HAp content. These results suggest that the composite fabricated by addition of CaCl2 at the beginning of the growth period is a promising material for bone repair and implantation.

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This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21776184 and 21476147).

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Correspondence to Guoying Li.

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Bu, H., Li, G. Comparative investigation of hydroxyapatite/collagen composites prepared by CaCl2 addition at different time points in collagen self-assembly process. J Mater Sci 53, 6313–6324 (2018).

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