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Spirulina as a Bioactive Coating for Wound Treatment

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By Milthon Lujan

A schematic representing the one-step argon atmospheric plasma jet (Ar-APJ) process for transforming S. maxima biomass into an ultra-thin bioactive coating. A) S. maxima is sprayed onto a universal substrate. B) The Ar-APJ process transforms S. maxima biomass into a thin, durable, bioactive coating. C) Proposed applications for Ar-APJ technology include antibacterial wound dressings. Credit: Pham et al., (2023)
A schematic representing the one-step argon atmospheric plasma jet (Ar-APJ) process for transforming S. maxima biomass into an ultra-thin bioactive coating. A) S. maxima is sprayed onto a universal substrate. B) The Ar-APJ process transforms S. maxima biomass into a thin, durable, bioactive coating. C) Proposed applications for Ar-APJ technology include antibacterial wound dressings. Credit: Pham et al., (2023)

Wound healing, especially in patients with comorbidities like diabetes, presents a significant challenge. Complicating matters is the growing threat of wound infection and the alarming increase in bacterial resistance to conventional treatments such as antibiotics and silver.

In response to this formidable problem, an innovative solution harnessing the power of C-phycocyanin, a bioactive and antibacterial compound found in the microalga Spirulina maxima, has emerged.

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By employing an argon atmospheric plasma jet (Ar-APJ), researchers at Flinders University have successfully transformed Spirulina maxima, a blue-green microalga, into ultra-thin bioactive coatings.

Transforming Microalgae into Healing Powerhouses

The key breakthrough offered by Ar-APJ is its ability to selectively alter the cell walls of S. maxima. In doing so, it converts them into ultra-thin bioactive coatings that prove incredibly resilient when exposed to aqueous conditions.

These coatings not only combat bacterial infections but also promote faster wound healing and possess potent anti-inflammatory properties. This is promising, especially for the treatment of chronic wounds, which often pose challenges due to prolonged healing times.

The novel approach could reduce the risk of toxic reactions to silver and other nanoparticles and the increasing antibiotic resistance of common commercial wound dressings.

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The latest development unveils a newly patented plasma-assisted technology that processes Spirulina maxima biomass sustainably into ultra-thin bioactive coatings that can be applied to wound dressings and other medical devices. These coatings have a unique ability to protect patients from infections, accelerate healing, and modulate inflammation.

Revealing the Antibacterial Arsenal

One of the primary advantages of Ar-APJ-transformed bioactive coatings is their remarkable antibacterial properties. Research results reveal that these coatings exhibit exceptional efficacy against bacterial culprits such as Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

This newfound capability represents a significant step forward in the quest to combat wound infections, particularly in patients with diabetes or other comorbidities.

Promoting a Healing Environment

But the benefits do not end there. These innovative coatings demonstrate compatibility with macrophages, a type of immune cell crucial for the wound healing process. What’s even more interesting is that they trigger an anti-inflammatory response by reducing interleukin 6 production, a pro-inflammatory cytokine. This means that these bioactive coatings not only combat infections but also create an environment conducive to healing, minimizing inflammation and promoting the restoration of healthy tissue.

Encouraging Cell Migration

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Furthermore, these coatings have been shown to facilitate cell migration in keratinocytes, crucial for re-epithelialization and the restoration of the skin’s protective barrier. This critical aspect of the healing process is further enhanced by the introduction of bioactive coatings, accelerating recovery and improving outcomes for patients.

A Sustainable One-Step Solution

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Ar-APJ-transformed bioactive coatings is the sustainable nature of this innovative technology. Offering a one-step process for converting microalgae into coatings, this approach represents a significant advancement in sustainability and ease of production. It’s a testament to the potential of science and technology to revolutionize healthcare, making it more accessible and eco-friendly.

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In Conclusion

In conclusion, the introduction of Ar-APJ-transformed bioactive coatings represents a breakthrough in wound care research and application. By harnessing the power of microalgae and sustainable technology, we have taken a significant step towards more effective, eco-friendly, and accessible wound care solutions. The road to combating wound infections and enhancing the healing process has just taken a giant leap forward, promising a brighter future for patients facing the challenges of wound healing, especially in the presence of comorbidities like diabetes.

Contacts
Krasimir Vasilev
Biomedical Nanoengineering Laboratory, College of Medicine and Public Health
Flinders University
Adelaide, SA, 5042 Australia
E-mail: krasimir.vasilev@flinders.edu.au

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Vi Khanh Truong
Biomedical Nanoengineering Laboratory, College of Medicine and Public Health
Flinders University
Adelaide, SA, 5042 Australia
E-mail: vikhanh.truong@flinders.edu.au

Reference (open access)
Pham, T., Nguyen, T. T., Nguyen, N. H., Hayles, A., Li, W., Pham, D. Q., Nguyen, C. K., Nguyen, T., Vongsvivut, J., Ninan, N., Sabri, Y., Zhang, W., Vasilev, K., Truong, V. K., Transforming Spirulina maxima Biomass into Ultrathin Bioactive Coatings Using an Atmospheric Plasma Jet: A New Approach to Healing of Infected Wounds. Small 2023, 2305469. https://doi.org/10.1002/smll.202305469

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