IIT Guwahati | File Photo

Researchers at IIT Guwahati have invented a biodegradable low-cost composite transparent wound dressing film. This material, based on the integration of a synthetic polymer, is non-toxic in nature and will create a moist environment that would enable the body to heal on its own through the endogenous enzymes, according to recent research.

The laboratory-scale development was found to be at least 50 per cent economical in comparison with similar commercial materials.

Cotton wool, lint, and gauzes are commonly used wound dressing materials. They are often deployed to manage the wound exudates and accelerate the healing process. However, a major disadvantage of such materials is with respect to the painful removal exercises that can even damage a healed tissue. Further, their opaqueness becomes a critical issue for sensitive wound applications that demand periodic visualization-based analysis and treatment procedures.

The research to address these issues was carried out by a team at the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati. Some of the findings were published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Biological Macromolecules by PhD scholar Aritra Das (first author); doctoral fellow Srirupa Bhattacharyya; Chandan Das and Ramagopal VS Uppaluri, faculty members in the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati.

Several promising features and advantages exist for the polymer-based hydrogel films as novel wound dressing materials. It includes cost effectiveness, biocompatible, transparent, super absorbent etc.

Highlighting the unique aspects of the research, Aritra Das PhD scholar at IIT Guwahati, said: “This invention of IIT Guwahati has the potential to make a huge impact in the field. It emphasizes upon the integration of a synthetic polymer namely polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) with a natural polymer starch (St) to eventually achieve a low-cost, biodegradable, non-toxic and transparent composite hydrogel.”

IIT Guwahati has created the knowledge framework and associated protocols for successful identification and optimization of polymer hydrogel films for the probable wound dressing applications.

Explaining how this invention will have an impact in the real world, Chandan Das, faculty member at Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, said: “The product has potential to prevent bacterial invention even after it gets swelled under a hydrolytic environment and loses its occlusivity. The steady weight loss characteristics presented by the polymer network provides essential release of the components, especially citric acid which secure the protection barrier. Apart from providing an adequate environment towards the growth of the wounded cells, the leached components from the composite as well assist towards the accelerated growth of the healthy cells and tissues.”

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