Australian researchers have developed a smart wound dressing

Service Engineering

Australian researchers at RMIT University, Melbourne, have developed a smart wound dressing with incorporated nanosensors that glow when a wound isn’t healing correctly. The smart dressings harness the antifungal and antibacterial properties of magnesium hydroxide.

The smart dressing is cheaper to manufacture than silver-based dressings and equally effective in tackling fungi and bacteria with their antimicrobial properties, which last up to seven days.

“Australian researchers have developed a smart wound dressing.“

Dr Vi Khanh Truong, project leader, highlighted that the development of cost-effective antimicrobial dressings with incorporated healing sensors would be a noteworthy advance in wound care.

Published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, the new study is said to be the first of its kind to develop fluorescent magnesium hydroxide nanosheets, which could contour to the curves of bandage fibres.

The magnesium hydroxide nanosheets are encased in nanofibers and react to pH variations. Since healthy skin is slightly acidic and infected wounds are somewhat alkaline, they are excellent for use as sensors to track healing.

The nanosheets shine brightly in alkaline surroundings and fade in acidic situations when exposed to UV light, demonstrating the distinct pH values corresponding to different stages of wound healing.

The nanosheets may be easily incorporated into any biocompatible nanofibre, according to the researchers, and then put onto conventional cotton bandages.

Truong stated: “Currently the only way to check the progress of wounds is by removing bandage dressings, which is both painful and risky, giving pathogens the chance to attack. The smart dressings we’ve developed not only fight bacteria and reduce inflammation to help promote healing. They also have glowing sensors to track and monitor for infection. Being able to easily see if something is going wrong would reduce the need for frequent dressing changes and help to keep wounds better protected. With further research, we hope our multifunctional dressings could become part of a new generation of low-cost, magnesium-based technologies for advanced wound care. Normally, antimicrobial wound dressings start to lose their performance after a few days but our studies show these new dressings could last up to 7 days."

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