NTU made bandages with discarded shells – Health Guild News


You will soon be able to buy these antibacterial bandages made with durian shells in supermarkets and pharmacies.

Yes, it is true, the durian shells thrown by Singaporeans after a banquet with their Mao Shan Wang and D24 will receive a new life, this time in the form of relieving our wounds.

First durians heal our stomachs, now they can also heal our cuts and scratches. Thank you mother nature and the power of science.

Professor William Chen, professor of Michael Fam and director of the Food Science and Technology Program at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) told Vulcan Post that this research breakthrough could be sold in supermarkets soon.

Professor William Chen (left) with PhD student Cui Xi (right) / Image credit: Nanyang University of Technology

When asked if the product is still patented, William said, “The innovation is protected by the disclosure of the technology and is already approved and a license has been granted to a local food company to expand it.” .

“Building on the successful commercialization of our other technological innovations, we are confident that durian shell-based bandages would be another success story,” William said. “The main reasons for our successful marketing are that our innovations are simple and cost-effective and also because we have been working with experienced partners in the industry.”

The use of food waste to create products in bandages, when scalable, will also be a tough competitor to other healthcare competitors in the market.

Why would they last for all things

To answer our question about why the “random” choice to use durian shells, William shared a farming fact: that Singapore consumes 12 million durians a year. “Shells are largely disposed of as general waste in incinerators. This adds to a massive amount of carbon footprint.”

To mitigate the problem of so much food waste, William and his team tried to experiment with these bulky discarded shells. Durian peels can account for between 60 and 80 percent of the weight of the fruit and are rich in fiber.

The “king of fruits” is now a source of antibacterial bandages, thanks to science / Image credit: Getty Images

“The platform’s technology extracts cellulose from fiber-rich raw materials such as soy waste, spent beer grain and durian shells,” William said.

When asked why the king of fruits and not any other, he thought that other types of products or fruits, as well as rejected products, can also be investigated to turn them into antibacterial bandages. “As long as they have a high level of fiber,” he said.

The research was not a walk through the park for scientists in the NTU’s Food Science and Technology Program, after about three years before they could show the current results.

These bandages were developed in line with Singapore’s drive to create a “circular economy of waste-free food processing”.

Singapore consumes 12 million durians a year / Image Credit: Getty Images

William noted that the innovation, turning durian waste into antibacterial bandages, is a breakthrough, as seen with global media coverage by Reuters and the World Economic Forum.

How they do it

After cutting and lyophilizing durian shells, a process extracts the cellulose powder from the products.

The shells are converted into “high quality” cellulose powder by cutting, freeze-drying, ball grinding and removing impurities.

The powder is then mixed with glycerol and the mixture is converted into soft hydrogel, which is then cut into strips of bandage.

A process extracts cellulose dust from the shells / Image Credit: Nanyang Technological University

Subsequently, the scientists add organic molecules produced from the baker’s yeast, making the bandages deadly to the bacteria.

Hydrogel is known to help heal wounds faster, as the water content of the ice keeps the wound area cool and moist. This component is also known to reduce scarring.

A soft hydrogel is created and cut into bandage strips / Image Credit: Nanyang Technological University

The use case of these hydrogels goes beyond bandages, as there are several applications, including for wound dressings and even portable electronics.

Biodegradable, cheap and ecological

William said the low-cost bandage is biodegradable and non-toxic, meaning it has a smaller environmental footprint than conventional synthetic bandages. They also provide a more “natural” solution for wound healing.

Conventional hydrogel patches on the market are made of synthetic materials. Those with antimicrobial properties use metal compounds such as silver or copper ions.

These materials make conventional hydrogel patches more expensive than “durian waste” hydrogels, which are made from natural materials.

Hydrogel gypsum dressing made of durian shells / Image credit: Nanyang Technological University

This means that manufacturers can expect a “significant reduction” in cost compared to traditional methods.

According to William, the traditional method of using enzymes costs about A $ 27,000 per kilogram, while the school research method costs about A $ 120 per kilo to extract the same amount of cellulose.

To break it down simply, a three-pound durian for example, can create 200 grams of shell powder, of which 40 grams is pure cellulose. These 40 grams are enough to make about 66 pieces of seven cm by seven cm hydrogel patches, which will be enough material to spread on 1,600 regular plasters.

The hydrogel keeps the wound area cool and moist / Image Credit: Nanyang Technology University

He added that the bandages are biodegradable and, as they are organic in nature, they are expected to have a smaller environmental footprint than conventional synthetic bandages.

Anti-durian people do not worry, the bandages do not smell of fruit

As for readers who have been horrified reading this article due to fear of the smell of durians the next time a traveler next to you wears this natural “hip” bandage on their wound, don’t you have to worry about that. .

According to William, the bandages are odorless. Certainly, there are no plans to introduce antibacterial bandages that smell of durians, although it can be an appetizer.

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Featured Image Credit: Nanyang University of Technology

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