Scientists have developed a novel compound made of bamboo cellulose and silver nanoparticles that can better treat skin injuries, an advance which may lead to films and ointments for wound-healing dressing materials with antibacterial properties.
Current wound-dressing materials have drawbacks such as foul smell, low porosity and poor-healing capacity. Some are even toxic to biological cells.
“An effective wound healing or a dressing material is needed that can cater moist environment to wound, prevent microbial infection and can be readily removed from the wound site without causing much pain,” Sudesh Kumar, a scientist at Centre of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing in Punjab said.
Researchers from the CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology in Himachal Pradesh and Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research in New Delhi synthesised nanobiocomposites by inserting silver nanoparticles into the matrix of cellulose nanocrystals isolated from two species of bamboo leaves.
Cellulose is major component of plant cell wall. Different plants have different shape and size and this could be one of the reason for the different characteristics.
Bamboo was chosen for the research as it grows faster and has longest internode segment – allowing scientists to isolate appropriate-sized cellulose nanocrystals.
After overnight incubation with infectious bacteria, the nanocomposites showed strong antibacterial activities, researchers said.
The nanocomposites inhibited the growth of the bacteria by releasing silver nanoparticles which stuck to the cell membrane and eventually ruptured the bacterial cells.
“Among biomedical applications, wound repair has been a realm of extensive research over a past few decades. Plants are the natural largest source of cellulose, but are largely unexplored in such biomedical applications,” said Kumar.
Ointment and films made from the nanocomposites completely healed skin wounds in mice. The composite kept the wound site moist and stimulated the activities of certain enzymes, allowing the regeneration of skin cells.
The nanocomposites induced the growth of collagen fibres and stopped the proliferation of specific immune cells that trigger inflammation and delay wound healing. After two weeks, presence of few hair follicles in the mice skin wounds indicated completion of tissue repair.
“So far the developed nanocomposite has shown promising result against acute wound healing. For other kind of wound healing experiments are undergoing,” said Kumar. The research was published in the journal Carbohydrate Polymers.