Novel uses for bacterial cellulose, artificial blood vessels, bioengineered wound dressing

New and unique products created from bacterial cellulose — from electronic paper to treatment for wounds — will highlight a one-day symposium at the 227th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

The symposium, "Bacterial Cellulose: Preparation, Properties, and Applications," which also includes a presentation on the first link between cellulose production by certain pathogenic bacteria and their spread, begins at 8:50 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31, at the Anaheim Convention Center, Room 210A. A news briefing on these presentations is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30, at noon. Following are some of the key topics to be covered:

  • Artificial blood vessels for use in microsurgery:Dieter O. Klemm, Ph.D., Institute of Organic Chemistry and Macromolecular Chemistry, Jena University, Jena, Germany, will describe how it is possible to mold bacterial cellulose into blood vessels. Based on results from animal experimental microsurgery, he also will explain how this new product is bio- and blood-compatible and can be completely incorporated into the body. (CELL 156, Wednesday, March 31, 10:30 a.m.)

  • Adhesion of disease-causing bacteria linked to virulence:Ute Römling, Ph.D., Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, will discuss how she has shown, for the first time, that certain significant pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella enterica and E. coli, produce cellulose that helps them stick to various surfaces. This adhesion might lead to successful colonization of the tissues and disease. The discovery should have a major impact on understanding virulence of bacteria that cause diseases and other ailments. (CELL 167, Wednesday, March 31, 1:30 p.m.)

  • Development of electronic paper:Jay Shah, Materials Science & Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, will describe what he terms the first major effort to create an electronic display using cellulose from a bacterium. The electronic display, which is in itself a monitor, is in the form of a paper-thin sheet. The display will not light up like a typical computer monitor; it will appear exactly like print or photos on a page. There is no power needed to view the image, only to load or change the image on the page. Potential future applications of this form of paper are books, wallpaper, billboards and textiles. (CELL 169, Wednesday, March 31, 2:30 p.m.)

  • Bioengineered wound dressing:Gonzalo C. Serafica, Ph.D., Research & Development, Xylos Corp., Langhorne, Pa., will describe development of a moist, cellulose wound dressing for treating chronic wounds such as diabetic ulcers, pressure sores and venous ulcers. The new dressing has the unique ability to moisten dry areas and at the same time absorb unwanted fluids from the wound, thereby maintaining an optimal moist environment for healing the wound. This moisture management capability of the dressing has been shown to promote the healing of difficult to heal ulcers and reduce pain in hundreds of patients, both in a controlled clinical study and everyday clinical practice. (CELL 158, Wednesday, March 31, 11:30 a.m..)

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