Nutritional scientists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU Singapore) have created an antibacterial gel bandage using the husk of the popular tropical fruit, durian.
Known as the “king of fruits” in Southeast Asia, durian has a thick husk with spiny thorns. Usually, it is thrown away. However, NTU scientists have created a soft gel that looks like silicon sheets. It can be cut into bandages of various shapes and sizes. Researchers have extracted high-quality cellulose from durian husks and combined it with glycerin, a byproduct of biodiesel and soap production.
Then they added organic molecules derived from baker’s yeast – natural yeast phenols. This component has endowed the dressing with antibacterial properties.
Details of the work are published in the ACS peer-reviewed journal Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.
Conventional hydrogel patches are widely available in pharmacies and are commonly used to close surgical wounds to minimize the formation of excess scar tissue, resulting in a softer, flatter scar. When using regular patches or gauze dressings, the patch keeps the skin hydrated rather than drying out.
The problem is that common hydrogel patches on the market are made from synthetic materials – these are polymers such as polymethacrylate and polyvinylpyrrolidone. Silver or copper ions are used to impart antibacterial properties to the dressings. These synthetic materials, approved for use in biomedicine, are more expensive than newer hydrogels made from natural waste.
With the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, the world will need many alternative ways to prevent infections, the study authors note.
Plus, the organic gel dressing is non-toxic and biodegradable. This means it will have a lower environmental impact than conventional synthetic dressings.