Nov 052010

The new dressing material indicates infection by turning purple (Image: Fraunhofer EMFT)

Wounding yourself can be bad enough, but having to regularly remove the dressing to check for infection can be painful and can also compound things by exposing the wound and giving germs the chance to enter.

Now researchers have developed a new material for dressings and plaster that changes color if an infection arises, making it possible to check wounds without changing the dressing.

The scientists at the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies EMFT in Munich have developed an indicator dye that reacts to different pH values, and integrated it into a dressing and a plaster. Healthy skin and healed wounds usually show a pH value of or below 5. If this value increases, shifting from the acid into the alkaline range, it indicates complications in the healing of the wound.

“If the pH value is between 6.5 and 8.5 an infection is frequently present and the indicator color strip turns purple, “ says Dr. Sabine Trupp, a scientist at the EMFT. In this way the intelligent dressing material makes it possible to regularly check wounds from the outside without disrupting the healing process.

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