Venezuelan scientists develop a shrimp shell-based healing agent to treat injuries, especially bedsores, in patients with reduced mobility.
Researcher Sofia Salazar Bigot indicated that the product, which emerged amid the coronavirus pandemic, has been prepared and tested for its antimicrobial and bactericidal activity. Tests are being carried out to confirm that it really has healing properties, the Ministry of Science and Technology has published.
Ministry of science and technology
The project is promoted from the chemistry laboratories of the Central University of Venezuela, although the Tuberculosis and Mycobacteriosis Department of the Jacinto Convit Institute of Biomedicine carries out analyzes to certify the benefits of the gel. The research group is made up of at least 25 people and is led by Professor María Rodríguez from UCV’s Natural Products Laboratory and coordinator of the postgraduate course in chemistry.
“We (at UCV) deal with chemical formulations, but the tests, which are biological, have to be done by professionals in the field,” he explained.
Salazar believes the gel could treat other shallow injuries, such as burns.
Industrial waste is used
He explained that they extract polysaccharides from biomass, which means that many of the raw materials used are starch and waste from other industries, such as chitosan, which is normally derived from shrimp waste and crustaceans.
“We have completed the entire process from shrimp shell to getting chitosan. Furthermore, there are national substitutes for all the raw materials we use. Chitosan can be obtained from any crustacean, such as crab, lobster, shrimp and prawn. Shrimp is a tradition in Venezuela, so the main source we find in Venezuela is shrimp; In the state of Zulia, chitosan is obtained from crab shells,” he said.