UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Design, Characterization and Antibacterial Activity of Heat and Silver Crosslinked Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) Hydrogel Forming Dressings Containing Silver Nanoparticles Jackson, John; Burt, Helen Mary, 1954-; Lange, Dirk (Microbiologist); Whang, In; Evans, Robin; Plackett, D. V. (David V.)


The prompt treatment of burn wounds is essential but can be challenging in remote parts of Africa, where burns from open fires are a constant hazard for children and suitable medical care may be far away. Consequently, there is an unmet need for an economical burn wound dressing with a sustained antimicrobial activity that might be manufactured locally at low cost. This study describes and characterizes the novel preparation of a silver nitrate-loaded/poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) film. Using controlled heating cycles, films may be crosslinked with in situ silver nanoparticle production using only a low heat oven and little technical expertise. Our research demonstrated that heat-curing of PVA/silver nitrate films converted the silver to nanoparticles. These films swelled in water to form a robust, wound-compatible hydrogel which exhibited controlled release of the antibacterial silver nanoparticles. An optimal formulation was obtained using 5% (w/w) silver nitrate in PVA membrane films that had been heated at 140 °C for 90 min. Physical and chemical characterization of such films was complemented by in vitro studies that confirmed the effective antibacterial activity of the released silver nanoparticles against both gram positive and negative bacteria. Overall, these findings provide economical and simple methods to manufacture stable, hydrogel forming wound dressings that release antibiotic silver over prolonged periods suitable for emergency use in remote locations.

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