December 5, 2023

Ironically, doctors may remove the dressing prematurely in order to check for infection, delaying the healing process. An experimental new dressing aims to help, as it changes color if an infection develops.

Developed by scientists at Linkoping, Örebro and Luleå Universities in Sweden, the dressing consists of a nanocellulose mesh covered on a porous silica material and loaded with bromothymol blue (BTB) dye .

First, the mesh is tight enough to keep bacteria from getting in from the outside, but it’s still loose enough to let fluids and gases pass through, which is critical to the healing process. Ideally, the dressing will remain on the wound and will not be removed until the wound is fully healed.

if infected Do Before that happens, however, the bacteria raise the pH of the wound — which happens before more obvious symptoms like redness or swelling appear. Importantly, once the pH of the wound exceeds 7, BTB changes from yellow at low pH to blue at high pH.

Examples of dressing materials for blue, transition and yellow states
Examples of dressing materials for blue, transition and yellow states

Olof Plantaber

As a result, the entire dressing is visible to the naked eye with a blue color, alerting caregivers to the onset of infection. That said, to prevent such infections from occurring in the first place, scientists are now developing antibacterial compounds based on lipopeptide molecules, which can also be incorporated into the nanocellulose mesh.

“Being able to see immediately whether a wound is infected, without having to remove the dressing, opens up a new type of wound care that could lead to more effective care and improve the lives of patients with difficult-to-heal wounds,” said Professor Daniel Aili from Linköping University . “It could also reduce unnecessary antibiotic use.”

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Materials Today Bio.

source: Linköping University