Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Inexpensive, abundant starch fibers could lead to ouchless bandages

Date:
May 1, 2012
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
A process that spins starch into fine strands could take the sting out of removing bandages, as well as produce less expensive and more environmentally friendly toilet paper, napkins and other products, according to food scientists.

Applying a small bandage. A process that spins starch into fine strands could take the sting out of removing bandages, as well as produce less expensive and more environmentally-friendly toilet paper, napkins and other products, according to food scientists.
Credit: Gorilla / Fotolia

A process that spins starch into fine strands could take the sting out of removing bandages, as well as produce less expensive and more environmentally-friendly toilet paper, napkins and other products, according to Penn State food scientists.

"There are many applications for starch fibers," said Lingyan Kong, graduate student, food science, "Starch is the most abundant and also the least expensive of natural polymers."

Kong, who worked with Greg Ziegler, professor of food science, used a solvent to dissolve the starch into a fluid that can then be spun into long strands, or fibers. These fibers can be combined and formed into paper-like mats similar to napkins, tissues and other types of paper products.

Once the process is scaled to industrial size, companies could make bandages and other medical dressings using starch fibers. Unlike bandages that are currently on the market that must be -- often painfully -- removed, starch bandages would degrade into glucose, a substance the body safely absorbs.

"Starch is easily biodegradable, so bandages made from it would, over time, be absorbed by the body," said Kong. "So, you wouldn't have to remove them."

Starch is a polymer made of amylose and amylopectin. Polymers are large molecules that are composed of chains of smaller, repeating molecules. Starches, typically found in corn, potatoes, arrowroot and other plants, are most familiar to consumers as cornstarch, potato starch and tapioca starch.

Starch does not completely dissolve in water but instead becomes a gel -- or starch paste -- that is too thick to make fibers. To solve the problem, the researchers added a solvent to help the solution dissolve the starch, but not destroy its molecular structure, Kong said.

The researchers used an electrospinning device that, in addition to the solvent, helped stretch the starch solution into fibers. The device uses a high voltage electrical charge to create a charge repulsion to overcome surface tension, which stretches the droplets of starch into long strands.

Kong said companies could modify the technique to scale the process for industrial uses.

During experiments on starch fibers, the researchers successfully used an extended range of amylose concentrations from 25 to 100 percent. Kong noted that because starch is so abundant, it is less expensive than other materials currently used to form fibers. Cellulose, typically derived from trees, is one of the most common sources of polymers. Petroleum-based polymers are also used as raw materials. However, both cellulose and petroleum-based materials continue to increase in price, as well as present environmental challenges.

The researchers have filed a provisional patent for this work. The U.S. Department of Agriculture supported this work.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Inexpensive, abundant starch fibers could lead to ouchless bandages." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120501100033.htm>.
Penn State. (2012, May 1). Inexpensive, abundant starch fibers could lead to ouchless bandages. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120501100033.htm
Penn State. "Inexpensive, abundant starch fibers could lead to ouchless bandages." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120501100033.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins