Researchers at Flinders University have pioneered a groundbreaking approach in wound care by utilizing a plasma jet to convert Spirulina maxima, a blue-green microalgae, into ultrathin bioactive coatings. These innovative coatings not only combat bacterial infections but also promote rapid wound healing and possess potent anti-inflammatory properties.
The recent breakthrough, featured in the nanotechnology journal Small, introduces a newly patented plasma-assisted technology that transforms Spirulina maxima biomass into bioactive ultrathin coatings. These coatings can be applied to wound dressings and medical devices, offering unique protection against infections, accelerated healing, and inflammation modulation. Dr. Vi Khanh Truong, a researcher from the Flinders University Biomedical Nano-engineering Laboratory, suggests that this technique can be adapted for other natural supplements, making it a versatile solution for various medical applications.
The application of plasma coating technology to convert biomass into sustainable high-end coatings is a pioneering endeavor. According to Dr. Truong, this plasma technology stands as the first of its kind, showcasing its potential in revolutionizing wound care and medical device coatings.
Spirulina maxima, a type of blue-green algae, is commonly used as a protein supplement and for treating various skin disorders, including eczema and psoriasis. The development of these bioactive coatings opens up new possibilities for harnessing the beneficial properties of this microalgae.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified antimicrobial resistance as a top public health threat in the 21st century. This crisis, responsible for approximately 5 million deaths in 2019, is projected to cost the global economy over $1 trillion by 2050 if proactive measures are not taken. The emergence of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” is a critical concern, with common bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa developing resistance to multiple antibiotics.
Professor Krasimir Vasilev, co-author, emphasizes that this plasma technology offers superior alternatives to existing commercial products, such as silver, gold, and copper coatings. It also serves as a crucial tool in the battle against antibiotic resistance. Professor Vasilev notes that plasma-assisted downstream processing enhances the extraction and purification of valuable compounds from biomass without using harmful solvents and excessive energy consumption.
The team is currently exploring avenues for commercializing this unique technology, focusing on medical wound dressing manufacturers. No commercial wound dressings offer simultaneous infection-fighting capabilities, inflammation modulation, and healing promotion. Professor Vasilev believes that this technology will provide a competitive edge to medical wound dressing manufacturers and make a significant difference in healthcare and patient outcomes.
The study was published in the journal Small.