Biocompatible Metal Ion-Chitosan Hydrogels with Antimicrobial Properties

Pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue primarily caused by prolonged compression limiting blood flow. Over 60,000 Americans die each year from complications associated with these injuries. Infections are the primary cause of death from ulcers due to dangerous bacteria like S. aureus and P. aeruginosa. New technologies are needed to improve the antibacterial properties of wound dressings for pressure ulcers and other injuries.

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University have developed a biomaterial of metal chitosan hydrogels with antimicrobial properties by using varying concentrations of metal ions. The materials can be tuned for water absorbance, liquid release, antibiotic uptake, and stiffness that can be integrated with medical devices, implants, and other materials. A prototype of the biomaterial has been developed with data showing its ability to inhibit the growth of leading bacteria that cause dangerous infections in ulcers and other wounds.