Research Highlight

Bamboo cellulose nanocrystals help heal skin wounds

doi:10.1038/nindia.2016.167 Published online 24 December 2016

Nanobiocomposites made of bamboo cellulose nanocrystals and silver nanoparticles can accelerate healing of skin wounds in mice, new research shows1. These nanocomposites could be converted to films and ointment, useful as wound-healing dressing material.

Existing wound-dressing materials have drawbacks such as foul smell, low porosity and poor-healing capacity. Some are also toxic to biological cells. Scientists from the CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology in Palampur, Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research in New Delhi and Center of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing in Mohali tried to overcome these problems. They synthesized nanobiocomposites by inserting silver nanoparticles into the matrix of cellulose nanocrystals isolated from two species of bamboo leaves.

After overnight incubation with infectious bacteria, the nanocomposites showed strong antibacterial activities. The nanocomposites inhibited the growth of the bacteria by releasing silver nanoparticles which stuck to the cell membrane and eventually ruptured the bacterial cells.

Ointment and films made from the nanocomposites completely healed skin wounds in mice. The composite kept the wound site moist and stimulated the activities of certain enzymes, allowing the regeneration of epithelial cells.

The nanocomposites induced the growth of collagen fibres and stopped the proliferation of specific immune cells that trigger inflammation and delay wound healing. After two weeks, presence of few hair follicles in the mice skin wounds indicated completion of tissue repair.


1. Singla, R. et al. In situ functionalized nanobiocomposites dressings of bamboo cellulose nanocrystals and silver nanoparticles for accelerated wound healing. Carbohydr. Polymer. 155, 152-162 (2017)