Medical

Cellulose wound dressing uses peptides to kill bacteria

Cellulose wound dressing uses ...
Staphylococci bacteria proved to be no match for the peptide-boosted cellulose fibers
Staphylococci bacteria proved to be no match for the peptide-boosted cellulose fibers
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Staphylococci bacteria proved to be no match for the peptide-boosted cellulose fibers
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Staphylococci bacteria proved to be no match for the peptide-boosted cellulose fibers

Although it's vitally important to keep wounds free of harmful bacteria, antibacterial ointments have to be regularly reapplied, requiring bandages to be removed. A new wound dressing, however, is claimed to continuously kill bacteria all on its own.

Developed by scientists at Switzerland's Empa research institute, the experimental dressing takes the form of a thin membrane made mainly of plant-derived cellulose fibers. Each fiber is less than one micrometer (a millionth of a meter) in diameter.

During the electrospinning process which is utilized to create the fibers, polyurethane is added to the cellulose. This makes the material flexible, yet also durable.

Next, the membrane is treated with a solution of custom-engineered "bifunctional" peptides (short chains of amino acids) – they're described as bifunctional because they both bind to the cellulose and they have antibacterial qualities. What's more, they're easier to produce than more commonly used antibacterial proteins, plus they're more stable and thus longer-lasting.

In lab tests, the membrane was well-tolerated by human skin cells, plus it eradicated over 99.99 percent of harmful bacteria such as staphylococci – these are commonly found in infected wounds. It is hoped that once the technology is developed further, the dressing could also contain other therapeutic compounds that boost the healing process.

The research is described in a paper that was recently published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.

Source: Empa

2 comments
riczero-b
If the peptides could be persuaded to bond to silicon hydroxide they'd be very useful for contact lenses.
Karmudjun
Thanks Ben, I'll be watching our journals for this product. We can use more non-pharmaceutical therapies for wound infections. Anything to keep from seeing another "flesh eating bacteria infected" patient. Or more aptly - massively antibiotic resistant bacteria infected patient whose family was bankrupted by the many procedures and required, and/or whose life is forever altered by the results of uncontrolled infection. We do need these studies to yield results.