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Bandages Made from Crab Shells Could Heal Wounds Rapidly

Bandages Made From Crab Shells

Image credit: The crab shell-derived material has rapid blood-clotting properties. University of Bolton

The bandage of its kind has been designed and developed by the scientists of the Fiber Science and Technology team at the University of Bolton. Such bandage has the content of crab shell components, which could speed up the healing process within wounds.

Being constructed with chitosan, a major material and derived from crustacean shells, this compound is characteristic of its antimicrobial properties, about which scientists are doubtful in regard to the mechanism causing this activity. In agriculture it has been applied as the means to help plants keep away from fungal and bacterial infections. Furthermore, it is also known for its good blood-clotting abilities, thus reducing pain by the means of blocking nerve endings.

Its production could also be easily made. Several kinds of crustacean shells would experience the treatment with a strong alkaline substance, and then the exoskeleton’s chitin – a derivative of glucose – breaks down into chitosan.

For such purpose, chitosan has been approved to be used in bandages in the U.S. and Europe. Actually, U.S. Marine Corps have already tested products made of chitosan and such products demonstrated its impressive effectiveness of stopping severely bleeding wounds. This project by the University of Bolton has seen the hard work of ten year’s research spawning from this approval process.

As the principle building material for the new bandage, alchite, is a mixture of alginate, kind of gloopy substance in the cell walls of brown algae, and chitosan. Although some research has shown that chitosan would be able to offer huge wound healing and blood clotting, it has to prove that how much quick this new bandage could heal wounds in comparison of conventional ones.

In the future, the crabs would be used in medical science. As a 450-million-year-old crustacean, the horseshoe crab has bright blue blood with marvelous antibacterial properties. This creature does not possess any white blood cells to help suppress infections; on the contrary, like many invertebrates, it has amebocytes – mobile cells accumulated around foreign agents within the blood and stop them in their tracks by triggering clotting.

This ability of quick blood coagulation is used to find out whether any medical samples contain toxins or bacteria within just 45 minutes. With this toxin detection system and these wound-healing bandages, it appears that medical science would be thankful to the crustacean world in a great extent.


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