The structure of the foraminiferal shell is similar to human bones. © Chou et al., 2013

The structure of the foraminiferal exoskeleton was found to have several applications in biomedicines. It can improve bone regeneration, which is especially of interest for astronauts as they are known to suffer from bone loss in space. Apart from that, the shell chambers are used as scaffold for regulated drug release. These are potential fields of application for future long-term space missions such as the colonization of planet Mars.

Scientific paper regarding this topic:

Blaber, E. A., Dvorochkin, N., Lee, C., Alwood, J. S., Yousuf, R., Pianetta, P., … & Almeida, E. A. (2013). Microgravity induces pelvic bone loss through osteoclastic activity, osteocytic osteolysis, and osteoblastic cell cycle inhibition by CDKN1a/p21. PloS one, 8(4), e61372.

Chou, J., Hao, J., Kuroda, S., Bishop, D., Ben-Nissan, B., Milthorpe, B., & Otsuka, M. (2013). Bone regeneration of rat tibial defect by zinc-tricalcium phosphate (Zn-TCP) synthesized from porous Foraminifera carbonate macrospheres. Marine drugs, 11(12), 5148-5158.

Chou, J., Ito, T., Otsuka, M., Ben‐Nissan, B., & Milthorpe, B. (2013). Simvastatin‐Loaded β‐TCP Drug Delivery System Induces Bone Formation and Prevents Rhabdomyolysis in OVX Mice. Advanced healthcare materials, 2(5), 678-681.

Vico, L., Collet, P., Guignandon, A., Lafage-Proust, M. H., Thomas, T., Rehailia, M., & Alexandre, C. (2000). Effects of long-term microgravity exposure on cancellous and cortical weight-bearing bones of cosmonauts. The Lancet, 355(9215), 1607-1611.