Food scientists create process for pain-free bandages

May 9, 2012

Scientists at Penn State University may have found a way to take the “ouch” out of bandage removal.

State College, Pa. - Scientists at Penn State University may have found a way to take the “ouch” out of bandage removal.

By using starch spun into fine strands, the researchers created a process by which bandages could degrade into glucose and be safely absorbed by the body.

Penn State researchers used a solvent to form the starch into a fluid, which can then be and spun into fibers and combined to form paper-like mats, Medical News Today reports.

On an industrial scale, companies may use this technology to make bandages and medical dressings from these starch fibers. Since starch degrades into glucose, a substance that the body can absorb harmlessly, the bandages wouldn’t need to be removed, but rather would be absorbed over time, researchers said.

Starch is a polymer that doesn’t normally dissolve completely in water. The investigators worked around this by using solvents and special equipment to aid in dissolving starch while still retaining its molecular structure.

Cellulose and petroleum-based polymers are typically used as raw materials in making fibers, but rising costs and environmental concerns are encouraging research into different materials.

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