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Wound dressings using mussels and silkworms


Mussels and silkworms may provide an improved alternative to dressing open wounds compared to existing methods, a South Korean study has found.

The team at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), the Catholic University of Korea and Ewha Women’s University, developed a new type of dressing to cover open wounds and stop bleeding, by looking at the natural adhesive that mussels use to stick to rocks, and the strength of silk fibres from silkworms.

The dressing incorporates layers of nanoscopic fibres from mussel adhesive protein (MAP) and a protein from silkworm cocoons (SP). While MAP ensures the dressing adheres to the tissues and promotes blood clotting, SP provides strength and stops bacteria from entering the wound.

When the group used the dressing on rats, they found it reduced clotting time and blood loss compared to gauze, which can lead to infection. The dressing is also biodegradable, so can dissolve harmlessly inside the body.

The next step is to assess its application in people, for example after surgery.


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