Folk remedies, which for long used moulds and fungi for patching up wounds, have been discovered to have a scientific basis. Researchers at the British Textile Technology Group in Manchester hope to develop fungus-based surgical dressings to accelerate wound healing.
Fungi contain chitin and chitosan in their cell walls rendering it the special property of wound healing. They attract fibroblasts -- cells which play a key role in wound healing -- anchoring them and helping collagen scar tissue formation. Chitosan when oxidised, produces hydrogen peroxide activating white blood cells and keeping infection at bay.
The lead researcher, Paul Hamlyn has patented processes for growing the fungi in bioreactors, cleaning them and developing them into surgical dressings. For deep wounds he has produced absorbent gauze, and for superficial wounds absorbent sheets.
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