Crab shell compound makes wounds heal faster

Crab shell compound makes wounds heal faster

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A mineral called chitosan found in crustacean shells known for healing properties and its ability to kill bacteria is a key constituent of new hi-tech fast-healing wound bandages.

Common littoral crab (Carcinus maenas)

In ancient China crabs were smashed open and thrust into wounds in battles because chitosan is antimicrobial, meaning it heals and kills bacteria.

Chitosan's properties allow it to rapidly clot blood and promote hemostasis (stops bleeding). Chitosan bonds with platelets and red blood cells to form a gel-like clot which seals a bleeding vessel.

Chitosan hemostatic products have been shown in testing by the U.S. Marine Corps to quickly stop bleeding and to reduce blood loss and both the US and the UK have already used the bandages on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Chitosan is hypoallergenic and has natural antibacterial properties, which further support its use in field bandages. Chitosan's hemostatic properties also allow it to reduce pain by blocking nerve endings.

Chitosan is produced commercially by treating shrimp and other crustacean shells with alkali sodium hydroxide.


Press releases from Divers Alert Network (DAN)