The fishing industry in Cuba generates great amounts of lobster waste, “a pollutant rich in proteins and chitin”, states Professor Carlos Andrés Peniche Covas, head of the Biopolymers Research Group, from the Biomaterials Centre of the University of Havana. This group is doing research into chitin and chitosan extraction from such waste, in collaboration with the Spanish Centre for Scientific Research (CSIC), the Complutense University in Madrid (Spain) and the Mexican Research Centre for Food and Development.
Prof. Peniche points out that "this work allows for the first accurate and comprehensive results of a university study on chitin and chitosan. The study starts at the extraction of these compounds from polluting waste of the Cuban fishing industry and it goes on to cover these products’ characterisation through traditional techniques and some more innovative ones, the study of their properties, the development of new by-products and the testing of their practical applications in areas useful for this Caribbean country, such as agriculture and biomedicine."
Use in medicine
These researchers’ work has led to the development of a procedure to obtain surgical materials with great healing and antiseptic properties. "This procedure involves using chitosan to cover surgical threads and lint, into which antibiotics are injected. By doing this, we obtain medical materials with both antimicrobial and healing properties and, as they are covered in a natural polymer, with a higher degree of biocompatibility." Research shows that such properties remained unmodified after sterilisation.
Two new types of surgical thread were produced in collaboration with the Cuban Superior Institute of Military Medicine "Dr. Luis Díaz Soto": Agasut-Q, covered with chitosan (healing properties) and Agasut-QE, covered with chitosan and streptomycin (healing and antimicrobial properties). After preclinical and clinical trials were approved, both surgical thread types were introduced and successfully used in several Cuban hospitals.
Use in agriculture
The study, however, was not restricted to biomedicine. In cooperation with the Cuban National Centre for Agricultural and Livestock Health (CENSA), this group worked in “seed coating to boost farming yields as well as in encapsulation of somatic embryos to design artificial seeds".
In trials, tomato seeds of variety 1-17 were coated with chitosan. Under laboratory conditions, treated seeds showed significantly higher growth speed and percentage of successful germination when compared to non-treated seeds.
In Prof. Peniche’s words, the research group concluded that "chitosan works as a bio-stimulant in tomato seed treatment by producing better seed germination and greater plant height, stem thickness and dry mass about a week earlier than usual". Chitosan proved to be a natural polymer with great film-generating capacity, apart from other highly interesting properties: chitosan does not produce polluting substances, it is non-toxic and biocompatible.
Antonio Marín Ruiz | alfa
20.11.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis
Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity
20.11.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences
20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences
20.11.2017 | Life Sciences