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How algae can help wounds heal quicker

A wound healing test generated positive results.

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(Laker via Pexels)

By Gwyn Wright via SWNS

Algae can help heal flesh wounds more quickly, according to new research.

Scientists have found tiny particles from a freshwater alga called euglena gracilis can help proliferation and migration in skin cells- two processes that help wounds to heal.

They also helped the body produce more collagen, which makes up around 80 percent of our skin.

A wound healing test also generated positive results.

Researchers say it works because the alga releases beta-glucans, which can help the immune system regulate itself and help the body regenerate.

The beta-glucans also contain antioxidants which are widely used in skincare products.

The South Korean research team say extracellular vesicles, which are released from animal cells, can be directly transferred into the body for medical purposes such as helping suppress cancer cells in people with leukemia.

However, they have not been used widely because they can become contaminated.

Algae and other non-animal cells are a potential alternative but they have strong cell membranes which means it is difficult to split and recombine to make extracellular vesicles.

The researchers were particularly keen to try and derive extracellular vesicles from euglena gracilis because it has a fairly soft cell membrane and large quantities of it can be cultivated without risking viral infection.

It is also known to contain a lot of paramylon, a beta-glucan which is known to be good at regulating the immune system, stimulating regeneration in the body and also contains lots of antioxidants.

Beta-glucans help regenerate damaged skin and extracellular vesicles from the algae can be extracted to help deliver the beta-glucans to skin cells.

Study co-author Jin Woong Kim, of Sungkyunkwan University, said: “This technique is expected to be applied to other cells, thereby enabling the design of new types of extracellular vesicles that are applicable for skin treatments and care in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.”

The findings were published in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.

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