Dudik, Olesia; Lenor, Isabel; Xavier, Joana R; Rapp, Hans Tore; Pires, Ricardo A, Silva, Tiago H; Reis, Rui L. (2018). Materials Today. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mattod.2018.03.025.
Sponges (Phylum Porifera) are highly diverse and important members of many benthic communities in all oceans. In some areas, sponges add structure and habitat complexity, forming sponge-dominated communities known as sponge grounds, aggregations, gardens, and reefs along continental shelves, on seamounts, and on mid-ocean ridges, and also in the deepest ocean basins. In addition to habitat provision, sponges are also important players in the circulation and recycling of nutrients and elements in the ocean, including carbon, nitrogen, and silica (…). Mimicking sponge-derived silica has been a driving force for the production of novel biomaterials for biomedical context, particularly, bone replacement and regeneration strategies. This is a huge arena, with healthcare being highly deficitary of adequate therapies to overcome the loss of bone tissue caused by trauma or disease. In this regard, nearly 60% of the available synthetic bone graft substitutes involve ceramic materials (as calcium phosphates or silica), either on their own or in a composite structure, and significant research efforts are being devoted to develop solutions capable to overcome the problems associated with autologous bone grafts. For further reading, check the links below.