doi:10.1038/nindia.2016.60 Published online 15 May 2016
By blending a natural gum polymer with gelatin, researchers have synthesized a porous sponge that can be loaded with an antibiotic, making it potentially useful for dressing wounds1.
Artificial scaffolds containing natural polymers play vital roles in treating wounds since they aid the cell growth.
To make a biocompatible scaffold for wound dressing, the researchers prepared the sponge by blending gelatin with the gum kondagogu, which had been extracted from a plant. They then explored the sponge’s properties, including its ability to release the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, aid cell growth and protect against disease-causing bacteria.
The sponge exhibited increased swelling with increasing gum content. Its uniformly porous surface facilitated cell infusion and nutrient uptake, which are prerequisites for cell proliferation in wounds. Furthermore, chemically modifying the sponge lengthened its gelatin molecules, making the sponge thermally stable.
A drug-release study showed that the sponge released ciprofloxacin in two distinct phases: after an initial burst, it released the drug slowly, releasing 95% of the drug after 48 hours.
The sponge inhibited the growth of two disease-causing bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. In addition, it was found to be non-toxic to cultured mouse embryonic fibroblast and specific human skin cells, suggesting it could be used in clinical set-ups, the researchers say.