Researchers at Cornell University have discovered a new way to utilize the antioxidant and antibacterial properties of a plant compound to produce nanofiber-coated cotton dressings that combat infections and accelerate wound healing.
The results are particularly important given the increasing prevalence of multi-drug resistant bacteria.
Cotton gauze is one of the most commonly used wound dressings; it is cost-effective, readily available, comfortable, and biocompatible. However, it neither promotes healing nor combats infections.
„Cotton alone cannot solve these complications – it needs to be biofunctionalized,“ said lead author Mohsen Alishahi, a doctoral student in fiber science working in the NanoFibers and NanoTextiles (NanoFibTex) Laboratory.
Tamer Uyar, Associate Professor and head of the laboratory, stated that one of his primary research interests is the development of functional fibers from sustainable materials and the exploration of their potential applications in medical textiles and drug delivery systems.
To enhance the performance of cotton, researchers used Lawson, a red-orange compound derived from henna leaves with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
The experimental bandage showed excellent antibacterial activity against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial species, effectively killing E. coli and staphylococci in tests.
„The continued excessive use of synthetic antibiotics in high concentrations has contributed to the rise of the deadly epidemic of multi-resistant microbes. Therefore, the use of natural and effective antibacterial agents such as Lawson can serve as an alternative to synthetic antibacterial agents,“ said Tamer Uyar, Associate Professor at Cornell University.
Tamer Uyar, Associate Professor, Cornell University
„Wound dressings should provide a suitable environment to facilitate healing and prevent infections,“ said Alishahi. „By using entirely natural materials such as cotton, cyclodextrin, and Lawson, this dressing can accomplish both, as it possesses comprehensive antioxidant and antibacterial properties.“
Alishahi added that the dressing would be particularly helpful in chronic wounds, which are highly susceptible to infections, such as diabetic ulcers and burns. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties would also benefit more common wounds by reducing scarring.
This research was funded by Cotton Incorporated.
Alishahi, M., et al. (2024). Functionalization of cotton gauze with a complex nanofibrous coating comprising cyclodextrin/Lawson inclusion for antibacterial wound dressing. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2024.123815.