September 1, 2009
Center for Nanosciences, Kochi
The Amrita Center for Nanosciences (ACNS) leads the way in research into various biomaterials, actively promoting the use of those that are non-toxic and biodegradable.
“A biomaterial is any material, natural or man-made, that comprises whole or part of a living structure or biomedical device which performs, augments, or replaces a natural function,” explains Dr. Jayakumar of ACNS, co-editor of recently published books, Chitin and Chitosan in Biomaterials Science: Current Research and Developments (Vol 1 & 2).
Chitin and its derivative chitosan, are naturally occurring polymers obtained from crab shells. World-wide as in ACNS, they are being tested for several biomedical and pharmaceutical applications. These materials are non-toxic and biodegradable; they are also biocompatible and have wound healing ability. “These polysaccharides (chitin and chitosan) represent a renewable source of naturally biodegradable polymers; this is the main reason for the development of new applications for these materials,” further explains Dr. Jayakumar.
Consider this. Supposing one suffered a fracture. A doctor could make a chitin-based inplant that would not only help the bone heal but also naturally degrade away as new bone tissue was formed. Science-fiction? No, this is a new biomedical area of research called tissue engineering. Tissue engineering makes it possible to repair or replace portions of or whole tissues such as bone, cartilage, blood vessels, bladder, etc. Cells are implanted or seeded into a scaffold-like structure capable of supporting new tissue formation.
At ACNS, Dr. Jayakumar has worked on research projects to investigate the use of chitin-based scaffolds. Currently he is engaged in a project funded by Department of Sciences and Technology — Preparation of Novel Biodegradable Chitin Scaffolds with Hydroxyapatite / ZnO Nanoparticles for Wound Dressing Applications. Perhaps one could say that Dr. Jayakumar, who has considerable research experience from universities in Korea, Portugal and Japan, and over 50 publications to his credit, is something of a chitin and chitosan expert.
“In recent years there have been tremendous advances in the fields of chemistry, physics and biology which have had a direct impact on advances in biomaterials science. These advances have contributed significantly to the improvement of modern health care and continue to influence the practice of medicine. One of my areas of research has been the preparation of novel bioactive nanomaterials, nanocomposites, nanofibers and nanostructured-scaffolds and membranes from natural biopolymers for tissue engineering applications,” he explains further.
Chitin and Chitosan in Biomaterials Science: Current Research and Developments (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), edited by Dr. Jayakumar and his colleague Dr. M. Prabhakaran, is a compilation of some of the latest research findings in this field. “This book examines the state-of-the-art, and discusses current research as well as new biomedical applications of chitin and chitosan,” states the preface. “Applications of chitin and chitosan will be of interest to industrial personnel involved in bioprocessing as well as bioengineering students, specialists in the biomedical and biopharmaceutical industries, biochemists, food engineers, environmentalists, and microbiologists and biologists who specialize in chitosan technology.”
For more details about the book, please visit the link below.
Chitin and Chitosan in Biomaterials Science: Current Research and Developments (Vol 1 & 2)