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Biomass Technology

Scientists produce wound dressings from manuka honey

Japan-based researchers from Shinshu University have produced a novel wound dressing made from manuka honey using electrospun cellulose acetate nanofibre.

Electrospinning is a technique in fibre engineering that uses electrostatic repulsion to counteract surface tension and dispel the “dope” or fibre mixture to spin nano-sized fibres made of desirable ingredients. It is often used when producing fibres made of complex polymers, in this case with the added ingredient of manuka honey.

Manuka is honey made by bees out of the pollen of Leptospermum scoparium, a type of tea tree native to southeast Australia and New Zealand. Manuka is the Maori name for the flowering tea tree plant. Manuka honey contains multiple bioactive ingredients including hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal (MGO), polyphenols, sucrose and maltose that aid in healing.

Corresponding author of this study, Professor Ick Soo Kim of Shinshu University’s Institute for Fiber Engineering stated that it was difficult to “prepare a spinning dope for electrospinning. As we used cellulose acetate as a polymer carrier for our bioactive ingredient, it was very important to determine an amount of manuka honey which should show its bioactivity in the composite nanofibre mats without altering the electrospinning dope properties”.

So, the balance of adding the manuka honey with enough anti-bacterial properties without changing the electrospinning mixture properties needed tinkering and proved to be the key to the success of this research, the scientists said in a statement.

Shinshu University added: “The research successfully showed that the composite nanofibrous mats demonstrated antimicrobial activity against the Gram-positive S. aureus and Gram-negative E. coli bacterial strains. The cellulose acetate manuka honey nanofibrous mats also are breathable and promote wound healing in vitro.

“The scientists were happy to discover that including the honey in the nanofibre mats decreased the water contact angle which helps the proliferation and migration of cells during the healing process. This property of the nanofibre mats can also be used for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.”

The researchers hope to soon bring this to market. In order to do so, extensive in vivo analysis is needed.

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