Next generation wound dressings
The global advanced wound dressing market is currently valued at an estimated $US6.9 billion and is expected to grow to $US9.9 billion by 2028, with demand fueled by technological innovations, increasing numbers of surgical procedures, and the rising prevalence of chronic wounds and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Though magnesium is known to be antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and highly biocompatible, there has been little practical research on how it could be used on medically-relevant surfaces like dressings and bandages.
The new study published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, with lead author Dr Adam Truskewycz (now at the University of Bergen, Norway), is the first to develop fluorescent magnesium hydroxide nanosheets that could contour to the curves of bandage fibres.
The research team synthesised the nanosheets - which are 10,000 to 100,000 times thinner than a human hair - and embedded them onto nanofibres.
The magnesium hydroxide nanosheets respond to changes in pH, which makes them ideal for use as sensors to track healing.
Healthy skin is naturally slightly acidic while infected wounds are moderately alkaline.
Under UV light, the nanosheets glow brightly in alkaline environments and fade in acidic conditions, indicating the different pH levels that mark the stages of wound healing.
The nanosheets are easily integrated onto any biocompatible nanofibre, which means they can then be deposited onto standard cotton bandages.
Laboratory tests showed the magnesium hydroxide nanosheets were non-toxic to human cells, while destroying emerging pathogens like drug-resistant golden staph and Candida auris.