NTU scientists are turning durian husks into bandages, quickly to hit shops

By | November 12, 2021

You would possibly quickly have the ability to purchase these antibacterial bandages made out of durian husks at supermarkets and pharmacies.

Sure that’s proper, the durian husks Singaporeans throw away after feasting on their Mao Shan Wangs and D24s might be given a brand new lease of life – this time within the type of easing our wounds.

First durians heal our stomachs, now they will additionally heal our cuts and scrapes. Thanks mom nature and the facility of science.

Professor William Chen, the Michael Fam professor and director of the Nanyang Technological College’s (NTU) Meals Science and Know-how Programme advised Vulcan Publish that this analysis breakthrough would possibly probably be offered in supermarkets quickly.

Prof William Chen (left) with PhD scholar Cui Xi (proper) / Picture Credit score: Nanyang Technological College

When requested if the product is underneath a patent but, William stated: “The innovation is protected by expertise disclosure and it’s already permitted and being licensed out to a neighborhood meals firm to scale up.”

“Based mostly on profitable commercialisation of our different tech improvements, we’re assured that durian husks primarily based bandages could be one other profitable story,” stated William. “The primary causes for our profitable commercialisation are that our improvements are easy and value efficient and likewise as a result of we have now been working with skilled trade companions.”

Utilizing meals waste to create merchandise into bandages, when scalable, can also be set to be a tricky contender to different healthcare opponents available in the market.

Why durians of all issues

To reply our query on why the “random” selection of utilizing durian husks, William shared a watch watering reality: that Singapore consumes 12 million durians a 12 months. “The husks are largely disposed of as basic waste in incinerators, this provides to an enormous quantity of carbon footprint.”

To mitigate the problem of a lot meals waste, William and his staff checked out experimenting on these cumbersome discarded shells. Durian husks can account for about 60 to 80 per cent of the fruit’s weight and are excessive in fibre.

The ‘king of fruits’ is now a supply for antibacterial bandages, because of science / Picture Credit score: Getty Pictures

“The platform expertise extracts cellulose from fibre wealthy uncooked supplies, like soybean residues, brewer’s spent grain, and durian husks,” William stated.

When pressed on why the king of fruits and never any others, he mulled that different varieties of merchandise or fruits, in addition to discarded merchandise can be researched to transform into antibacterial bandages. “So long as they’ve a excessive degree of fibre,” he stated.

The analysis was not a stroll within the park for the scientists at NTU Meals Science and Know-how Programme, having spent about three years earlier than having the ability to present the present outcomes. 

These bandages had been developed consistent with Singapore’s push in direction of making a “zero-waste meals processing round financial system”.

Singapore consumes 12 million durians a 12 months / Picture Credit score: Getty Pictures

William famous that the innovation – to show durian waste into antibacterial bandages – is a breakthrough, as seen with worldwide media protection by the likes of Reuters and the World Financial Discussion board.

How do they do it

After the durian husks are sliced and freeze-dried, a course of extracts cellulose powder from the merchandise. 

The husks are transformed into “high-quality” cellulose powder by way of slicing, freeze-drying, ball-milling, and the removing of impurities.

The powder is then blended with glycerol and the combination turns into mushy hydrogel, which is then reduce into bandage strips.

A course of extracts cellulose powder from the husks / Picture Credit score: Nanyang Technological College

The scientists subsequently add natural molecules produced from baker’s yeast, making the bandages lethal to micro organism.

Hydrogel is understood to assist wounds heal quicker because the water content material within the gel retains the wound space cool and moist. This part can also be recognized to scale back scarring.

A mushy hydrogel is created and reduce into bandage strips / Picture Credit score: Nanyang Technological College

The use case for these hydrogels transcend simply bandages, as there are numerous purposes, together with for wound dressing and even wearable electronics.

Biodegradable, low-cost, and eco-friendly

The low-cost bandage is each biodegradable and non-toxic, which suggests it has a smaller environmental footprint than standard artificial bandages, William stated. In addition they present a extra “pure” resolution to therapeutic from wounds.

Typical hydrogel patches available on the market are product of artificial supplies. These with antimicrobial properties use metallic compounds like silver or copper ions.

These supplies make standard hydrogel patches extra pricey than the “durian waste” hydrogels, that are constituted of pure supplies.

Hydrogel plaster dressing constituted of durian husks / Picture Credit score: Nanyang Technological College

Because of this producers can count on a “important discount” in value in comparison with conventional strategies.

In response to William, the normal technique of utilizing enzymes prices about S$27,000 per kilogram, whereas the varsity’s analysis technique prices about S$120 per kilogram to extract the identical quantity of cellulose.

To interrupt it down merely, a 3 kilogram durian for instance, can create 200 grams of husk powder, of which 40 grams are pure cellulose. This 40 grams are sufficient to make round 66 items of seven cm by seven cm hydrogel patches, which might be sufficient materials to unfold over 1,600 common plasters.

Hydrogel retains the wound space cool and moist / Picture Credit score: Nanyang Technological College

He added that the bandages are biodegradable, and as they’re natural in nature, they’re anticipated to have a smaller environmental footprint than standard artificial bandages.

Anti-durian folks fret not, the bandages don’t scent just like the fruit

As for readers who’ve been going all cringy studying this text due to the worry of the scent of durians subsequent time when a commuter subsequent to you is sporting this “hip” pure bandage on his wound, you don’t have to fret about that.

In response to William, the bandages are odorless. There are actually no plans to introduce antibacterial bandages that include the scent of durians, though which may be fairly a snack.

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Featured Picture Credit score: Nanyang Technological College

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