University of Bolton - Natural wound healing developed

March 6, 2008

Seaweed and crab shell are being used by scientists to create a new material for dressing wounds to help accelerate healing. A team from the University of Bolton are developing a new medical textile with natural antibacterial properties. Mohsen Miraftab, from Bolton's Centre for Materials Research and Innovation, said a seaweed extract called alginate and another from crab shell called chitosan were being used for their absorption and antibacterial properties. The team have found a way to fuse molecules from the two sources to create a new molecule, which is then used to create a fibre from which to weave the dressing. Dr Miraftab said: "In stories of ancient China, in battles, crabs are smashed open and thrust into wounds. There is logic in this: chitosan is antimicrobial and accelerates cell activity. In effect it heals and kills bacteria - but of course it can't absorb water. Being the crab's shell it is actually designed to do the opposite."

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