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Plasma tech transforms blue-green algae into a wound-healing wonder

Date: 11.10.2023 

Plasma is formed from gas so superheated that the electrons are ripped away from the atoms, resulting in a soup of positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons. An atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ) provides a plasma discharge at ambient pressure using a noble gas/molecular gas mixture passed through a powerful electric arc discharge.

Kredit: Pham et al. (2023), Small.Researchers at Flinders University, South Australia, have used an argon APPJ to convert blue-green microalgae into an ultrathin bioactive coating that can be added to medical dressings to kill bacteria, reduce inflammation and promote wound healing.

“We are using the plasma coating technology to turn any type of biomass – in this case Spirulina maxima – into a sustainable high-end coating,” said Vi Khanh Truong, one of the study’s corresponding authors. “With our technology, we can transform biomass into coatings on wound dressing.”

Extract of S. maxima, a species of blue-green microalgae, is often used as a dietary supplement. The unicellular organism possesses a simple reproductive system that generates a biomass containing bioactive compounds with potent antioxidant and antibacterial properties that can assist with wound healing.

However, the thick cell walls of the microalgae pose a significant obstacle to extracting these valuable compounds. That’s where APPJ comes in. The researchers used the technology to selectively break down the microalgae’s thick walls, which resulted in a significant transformation. S. maxima lost its native structure, completely disintegrated, and subsequently reformed into ultrathin films.

Image source: Pham et al. (2023), Small.




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