Shape matters: crystal morphology and surface topography alter bioactivity of bioceramics in simulated body fluid

Barbara Myszka, Philipp I. Schodder, Simon Leupold, Maïssa K. S. Barr, Katrin Hurle, Martina Schüßler, Benedikt Demmert, Jonas Biggemann, Tobias Fey, Aldo R. Boccaccini, Stephan E. Wolf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


For bioactive biomaterials such as bioceramics and bioglass, it is generally accepted that, apart from acting as heterogeneous nucleators, it is their solubility and the resulting release of relevant ions such as calcium or basic anions which mainly governs the biomaterial's bioactivity. This contribution reveals that this bioactivity, as assessed by simulated body fluid (SBF), can also be considerably modified by the bioceramic's morphology, i.e., bioactivity is also governed by microstructure and surface morphology. When crystals are forced to adopt out-of-equilibrium crystal habit, this simple change in morphology converts an essentially bioinert material, here calcite, into a bioceramic which shows bioactivity in SBF. On larger length scales, already simple morphological changes, such as scratches, can have inverse effects. Limited mass transport into grooves and pits on a bioceramic surface can lead to local ion depletion which, in turn, causes reduced bioactivity of bioceramics which, otherwise, show distinct bioactivity in SBF. This contribution emblematically illustrates the unforeseen importance of even minor morphology changes on different length scales when assessing and designing a biomaterial's bioactivity through SBF assays.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000044
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Engineering Materials
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • bioactivity
  • bioceramics
  • biomaterials
  • calcium carbonate
  • crystallization


Dive into the research topics of 'Shape matters: crystal morphology and surface topography alter bioactivity of bioceramics in simulated body fluid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this