Highly porous poly(L-lactic acid)/apatite composites were prepared through in situ formation of carbonated apatite onto poly(L-lactic acid) foams in a simulated body fluid. The highly porous polymer foams (up to 95% porosity) were prepared from polymer solution by solid-liquid phase separation and subsequent sublimation of the solvent. The foams were then immersed in the simulated body fluid at 37 degrees C to allow the in situ apatite formation. After incubation in the simulated body fluid for a certain period of time, a large number of characteristic microparticles formed on the surfaces of pore walls throughout the polymer foams. The microparticles were characterized with scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, Fourier transform IR spectroscopy, and X-ray diffractometry. These porous spherical microparticles were assemblies of microflakes. They were found to be carbonated bonelike apatite. A series of composite foams with varying sizes and concentrations of the apatite particles was obtained by varying incubation time and conditions. These porous composites may be promising scaffolding materials for bone tissue engineering and regeneration because the excellent bone-bonding properties of the apatite may provide a good environment for osteoblast and osteoprogenitor cells' attachment and growth.