Insect Shells Prove to Be Strong Biomaterial for Medical Uses

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In Boston, scientists at Harvard University Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have found a way to take chitosan, a biomaterial from insect and crustacean shells, beyond previous uses for bioplastics, packaging and consumer products. Their research indicates that the antimicrobial and biodegradable properties of chitosan can be used in the medical industry as a kind of glue to help repair tissue or to hold together medical device implants. The coolest part? Once it has done its job, it biodegrades and there is no trace of it left behind in the patient, like a Band-Aid that automatically dissolves once the wound is healed. It’s also similar to the bandages we know of in another way – testing on punctured human intestines and lungs showed the chitosan biomaterial was actually stronger than the native human tissue.