Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A New Ideal Wound Dressing?

So Sphagnum Moss is pretty cool! Between its ability to preserve bog bodies and its effectiveness in preventing infection and helping wound healing it serves quite a lot of purposes. The most amazing effect that it has is that it actually will immobilize bacterial cells and essentially remove all the nutrients it needs to survive. Due to this mechanism - there is no chance of the bacteria/virus from gaining any kind of resistance. Regardless of the pathogen it still needs to move and collect nutrients. In WWI and WWII there was a huge push towards using Sphagnum Moss instead of cotton as a wound dressing since it had been shown to not only heal the wound faster but to significantly lower the chance of infection. Today there are more advanced methods for preventing infection, but I am still curious why no one uses Sphagnum Moss today. It seems like it is ideal, and much better than any gauze or cotton alternative we use today. Anyways, here is the paper that describes its biomedical effects.

"Concerning the wound-healing properties of Sphagnum holocellulose: the Maillard reaction in pharmacology"  (you may need to write in your UCSB perm info for access)

Here's a cool picture of the sphagnum moss releasing leukocytes into a surgically created wound on a pig. The semicircle is the cell wall of
the sphagnum and the black circles are the leukocytes.

Another really cool pic of Tollund Man - an incredibly well preserved bog body due to the tanning effects of Sphagnum Moss.

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