Interview conducted by Stuart Milne
In this interview, Hugo Ramos, general manager of Fluidinova, talks to AZoNano about the benefits of using nanoHydroxyapatite and the industries that are using this material.
SM: Could you please provide a brief introduction to Fluidinova and you activities?
HR: Fluidinova is a specialized manufacturer of synthetic and highly pure nanocrystalline forms of hydroxyapatite which we commercialize under the brand nanoXIM. We have developed a proprietary technology that allows the continuous production of nanoHydroxyapatite with very high quality standards.
SM: What forms of Hydroxyapatite products do you produce?
HR: We are particularly focused on nanoHydroxyapatite. A nanomaterial by definition should have at least one dimension below 100 nm, which is clearly the case of our different products structure. We supply our products in pastes (water based) with individualized particles below 50 nm and powders that are micron size nanostructured aggregates of crystalline hydroxyapatite. We are also currently developing granules and blocks for the bone regeneration industry.
Figure 1: Nanohydroxyapatite powder composed by micron sized nanostructured aggregates of crystalline hydroxyapatite
SM: Which industries are using nanoHydroxyapatite?
HR: We have customers in the Medical area, especially in bone regeneration with bone grafts and other injectable products. We also have a significant presence in the Oral Care industry as an active ingredient for Toothpastes and Mouthwash products. There are also applications in the food industry in Chewing gums and Calcium supplements. Another major area of application is the Cosmetics industry, since nanoHydroxyapatite can be used in skin creams.
SM: What are the characteristics that make nanoHydroxyapatite such a special product?
HR: In the human body Hydroxyapatite is present as the main component of bones (60%) and Teeth Enamel (97%) and Dentin (70%). In all these situations nanocrystalline Hydroxyapatite exists which allows better structural resistance and cellular behaviour. Therefore, by using an ingredient that better mimics the components in the body we are enhancing the responses we want to induce in the organism when we use these products.
SM: What are the benefits of using nanoHydroxyapatite compared with some traditional products?
HR: Many of the traditional products are extracted from animal sources with many issues relating to disease transmission. Others are synthesized in batch reactors with very low outputs and not assuring reliability in particle shape and size whilst having high phase purity. Our product has none of these problems because it is a synthetic product manufactured with fully controlled process and high purity.
SM: How does Fluidinova manufacture these products and how are you unique in that area?
HR: The company started as a spin-off from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto where within the subject of Computational Fluid Dynamics a group started developing a proprietary technology to perform chemical reactions that require perfect mixing at a micro to nanoscale. This technology is today property of Fluidinova and we have optimised it to the production of our nanoHydroxyapatite product range in different forms in a continuous system.
Figure 2: The hydroxyapatite nanoparticles present a size bellow 50 nm in a rod-like shape.
We have also been working downstream with R&D institutions to better adapt our products to the specific applications developing unique formulations for each area of use.
SM: What are the main concerns for you in these areas?
HR: We have been watching a growing concern from the general public and the regulators, particularly in Europe, for the issues of toxicity with nanomaterials. We think that this is positive for future advancements in the area, but we also believe that those products that are intrinsically safe because they are already in our organisms will prevail over the competition. This is the case of nanoHydroxyapatite and authorities should try to work with the industry to define the white and black lists of nanomaterials for different applications in order to transmit confidence to the consumers and the producers when using these materials in the products we all consume.
SM: What do you expect to see in this area in the near future?
HR: In the Medical area we expect to see a significant growth of the bioceramics in the bone regeneration in general and of the injectable bone substitutes in specific applications such as dental.
In the oral care market we believe that nanoHydroxyapatite will emerge as the most effective ingredient for reducing teeth sensitivity and promoting the remineralisation of enamel. Nowadays this is only used in very premium products and in the future will tend to cover a wider spectrum of segments in this area.
We also foresee a number of applications emerging in the Cosmetics industry. There is an increasing demand from this sector for new products with anti-ageing benefits and nanoHydroxyapatite looks to be a promising ingredient to promote collagen formation in the skin.
SM: Where can our readers find out more about FLUIDINOVA?
HR: They can visit our website at www.fluidinova.com or email us at
About Hugo Ramos
Hugo Ramos is currently the General Manager at Fluidinova and he is involved in every aspect of the company from business development to manufacturing and R&D.
With a background in Chemical Engineering, Hugo is focused in finding new markets and applications for Fluidinova's products as well as improving the range of products that the company can offer.