The progress in nanotechnology and the medical application of novel generations of nanomaterials have opened new horizons in the definition of non-conventional approaches against multiple diseases. Biomaterials coated with antimicrobial metal nanoparticles, along with the topical applications of zinc, silver or copper-based formulations have demonstrated huge potential in prevention from infections associated with implantable medical devices and in biofilm eradication. In wound healing, in particular, the increasing healthcare costs and the antibiotic resistance demonstrated by several microorganisms have encouraged researchers and companies in the development of innovative wound dressings with antibacterial properties and capability to promote and enhance the healing process. Supported by scientific evidence, many formulations have been proposed and a large number of works involves the use of hybrid metal nanoparticles/polymer products, which have demonstrated encouraging results both in vitro and in vivo. In this chapter, recent progress in the development of novel wound dressings based on antibacterial metal nanoparticles is presented, along with the most interesting results achieved by the authors, mainly devoted to the application of silver nanocoatings in wound management.
Part of the book: Wound Healing
Superabsorbent hydrogels are macromolecular networks able to absorb and retain large amounts of water solutions within their fine mesh-like structure. More importantly, they are capable of multiple swelling/shrinking transitions in response to specific environmental cues (e.g., pH, ionic strength, temperature, presence of given electrolytes), thus exhibiting a stimuli-sensitive behavior, which makes them appealing for the design of smart devices in a number of technological fields. In particular, in the last two decades, cellulose-based superabsorbent hydrogels have proven to be an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to acrylamide-based products. This chapter reviews the relationship between the molecular structure of cellulose-based hydrogels and their physicochemical properties. First, the network formation through the use of different cellulose derivatives and chemical or physical crosslinking agents is presented. Successively, the smart swelling capability of the hydrogels as a function of composition and structure is thoroughly discussed. Finally, several approaches to the hydrogel characterization are reviewed, with focus on the assessment of key mechanical, thermal and morphological properties.
Part of the book: Hydrogels