Singapore Scientists Create Antibacterial Gel Bandage From Durian Husk

Scientists in Singapore have found a way to transform discarded husks of durian into antibacterial hydrogel bandages.

The durian fruit, a tropical fruit abundant in Southeast Asia, is known as the “king of fruits” for its thorny husk and overpowering odor. While its flesh is eaten as a delicacy, its rind is usually just thrown away and incinerated, which is a food waste and pollution problem that needs to be solved.

“In Singapore, we consume about 12 million durians a year, so besides the flesh, we can’t do much about the husk and the seeds and this cause environmental pollution,”

– Professor William Chen

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, led by Director of NTU’s Food Science and Technology Programme Professor William Chen, extracted high-quality cellulose powder from durian husks and combined it with glycerol to create soft hydrogel sheets that can be cut into different shapes and sizes.

Natural yeast phenolics, organic molecules from baker’s yeast, were then added to make the bandage antibacterial. According to ScienceDaily, the natural yeast phenolics embedded in the bandage can help prevent bacteria growth. To prove this concept, the researchers tested the antimicrobial hydrogels as a wound dressing on animal skin, which showed good antimicrobial results for up to 48 hours.

According to Professor Chen, this new hydrogel made from natural waste material presents a cost-effective alternative compared to the conventional bandage typically made with synthetic materials such as polymer and metallic compounds such as silver or copper ions. Usage of organic materials allows for sustainable production and a smaller environmental footprint than conventional synthetic bandages.

Hydrogel patches are usually used to dress wounds to minimize scarring. Compared to conventional band-aid and gauze, hydrogel patches can keep the wound hydrated and accelerate healing, while also reducing the risk of infections.

According to Associate Professor Andrew Tan, Vice Dean of Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, the innovative and unique part of Prof Chen’s current work is the upcycling of the durian rind to obtain cellulose. It’s also quite unique given that the thorns of the durian can hurt, but the materials from the rind can heal.

“By adopting a waste-to-resource approach and the use of green manufacturing techniques, we have shown that it is possible to reduce consumption of Earth’s natural resources, reuse what was thought of as rubbish, and recycle them into valuable products that are useful for humankind.”

– Professor Chen

The research was published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemistry Society.

SOURCE: Nanyang Technological University, ScienceDaily


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