A group of Indian researchers have modified lignin, present in naturally occurring wood, to develop a quick wound-healing ointment.
They have modified lignin by adding certain chemical substances to produce a lignin derived copolymer.
This polymer, when combined with water- based gel, showed drug loading capability and better elasticity, in addition to prevention of wound related infections.
The new formulation worked well in laboratory animals with skin burns which are additionally prone to infections.
The starting point of the unique water-based gel is lignin, the major component of wood (15-30 per cent) and one of the most abundant renewable feed-stock.
“This hydro-gel has multiple uses. It is a dressing material, an anti-infective ointment, a drug carrier and also has anti-inflammatory properties,” said Ranadhir Chakraborty, of OMICS Laboratory, Department of Biotechnology, University of North Bengal.
Explaining the motivation for the work, Chakraborty highlighted the clever mechanism adopted by bacteria in infecting the burn wounds and avoiding the destructive effects of anti-biotics.
“What happens in burn wounds… when patients suffer from third-degree burning, they suffer from severe infection. The infection occurs not because of the burning but because the burn patient has to be dressed regularly and the wound dressing invites some nasty pathogens from air and that makes the whole thing untreatable,” he said.
“Basically, these pathogens are bystanders, always present in environment, but in these cases they start growing on the wound,” he added.
The work has been done in collaboration with scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, NBU and Rush University Medical Center, Chicago.