Russian researchers from created a new nonwoven fiber material from chitosan, a natural polymer, found in shells of marine arthropods and some insects. Scientists, who work in Karpov Research and Development Institute of Physics and Chemistry, believe that good absorbing properties of a new material promise a good future for it in medicine.
New material, made of chitosan, looks like a very thin white film and reminds of a texture of silk. It has been created in the department of polymers of Karpov Research and Development Institute of Physics and Chemistry. Researchers of this department have been investigating chitosan properties for several years and now try to enhance its properties. One of the experiments was creating a new seamless material from a well-known natural polymer. Unwoven piece was made by means of electroformation, a technique for producing various polymer materials – researchers have a special facility for this purpose in their Institute. Tens of experiments, aimed at finding optimum conditions, resulted in a material with desired properties, generated from chitosan solution. A piece of this new material could be seen in Tuapse during a recently ended symposium “Modern Chemical Physics”.
Chitosan attracts attention of many chemists from all around the world. This substance, a linear polysaccharide, is produced form chitin, a component of shells of crustaceans (crabs and shrimps), massively harvested in seas for sale. Fishermen need only meat, and shells are moved to waste dumps. However, learning to use chitosan can lead to making valuable materials for medical purposes from crustacean wastes. Chinese researches are known to actively work with this polymer, and there are several research groups in different cities of our country, which deal with the same problem. Thus, there is a stiff competition, and one, who gets a material with necessary properties, will win the race..
Chitosan is known to have antibacterial properties. Chemists shrug their shoulders, when they are asked about what in a molecule of chitosan is responsible for these properties. However, powdered chitosan or unwoven material, based on this polymer, can probably fight infections. The idea is that these materials have high surface area and show hydrophilic properties, which means they nicely stick to wet surfaces and absorb liquids. A piece of chitosan material over a wound can disinfect it.
Antibacterial properties of a new material, made of chitosan in Karpov Research and Development Institute of Physics and Chemistry, are a matter of future studies. Currently researches have only laboratory samples to work with and are busy with elaboration of material’s synthesis technology. Researchers want to make chitosan solution for synthesis in less concentrated acid environment and wonder how their new material would behave, when various additives would be added. Scientists think that their development can also be used for treating agent – antibiotics, for instance – delivery system.
Source: Science & Technologies