Eco Wound Dressings: India’s Banana Innovation

India is the world’s largest producer of bananas, but most of the banana pseudo stems are discarded after harvest, creating tons of agricultural waste. However, scientists at the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST) have found a way to transform this waste into a valuable material for wound care.

What are banana pseudo stems?

Banana pseudo stems are the thick, fibrous stalks that support the banana plant and its fruit. They are not true stems, but rather a bundle of leaf sheaths. Each banana plant produces only one bunch of bananas and then dies, leaving behind the pseudo stem.

How are they used for wound dressing?

The researchers at IASST extracted cellulose fibers from the banana pseudo stems and mixed them with biopolymers like chitosan and guar gum. Chitosan is derived from the shells of crustaceans and has antibacterial and hemostatic properties. Guar gum is obtained from the seeds of a legume plant and acts as a thickening and stabilizing agent.

The resulting composite material was then loaded with an extract from the Vitex negundo L. plant, which is a traditional medicinal herb with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The extract was encapsulated in alginate beads, which are biodegradable and can release the drug gradually.

The researchers tested the performance of the banana fiber-biopolymer composite patch in vitro and found that it had high mechanical strength, water absorption capacity, swelling ratio, antioxidant activity, drug release profile and antibacterial activity against common wound pathogens.

What are the benefits of this innovation?

The banana fiber-biopolymer composite patch offers several advantages over conventional wound dressings:

  • It is eco-friendly and biodegradable, reducing environmental pollution and waste disposal issues.
  • It is low-cost and easy to manufacture, using locally available and renewable resources.
  • It is non-toxic and compatible with human skin, minimizing allergic reactions and infections.
  • It is multifunctional and effective, providing mechanical support, moisture retention, drug delivery and infection control.

The researchers believe that this innovation opens the door to a new era in wound healing, offering a sustainable solution for wound care that can benefit farmers, patients and the environment.

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