Production of antibacterial seaweed hydrogels

In a recent article published in the journal ACS Applied Polymer Lettersresearchers have discussed the utility of algal biomass-loaded hydrogel scaffolds as a biomimetic platform with healing and antimicrobial properties.

Study: Hydrogel scaffolds loaded with algal biomass as a biomimetic platform with antibacterial and healing activities. Image Credit: Ivanova Tanja/


Due to their distinct three-dimensional (3D) porous matrix, flexibility, and high water content, hydrogels can mimic human soft tissues and have been investigated as potential materials for particular drug delivery applications and wound healing. Similarly, antioxidant dressings can help eliminate excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) that could cause oxidative stress and DNA damage.

They are an intriguing option for applications in topical infections such as wound infections due to the integration of healing composites into hydrogel-based platforms with the incorporation of various agents including antimicrobials and extracts of herbs to prevent wounds from becoming infected with bacteria. To date, various natural substances have been studied as drugs to treat skin conditions and wound lesions in hopes of speeding up the healing process and reducing the price of raw materials.

Oxygen levels control cell migration, proliferation, and neovascularization, which is crucial for wound healing. Maintaining an optimal oxygen level is an essential prerequisite for accelerating wound healing.

About the study

In this study, the authors discussed the one-step development of hydrogel scaffolds loaded with algal biomass (Chlorella sorokiniana) to combine hydrogel scaffolds with dried algal biomass (AB), which contained all the bioactive components to accelerate wound healing and also provide antibacterial benefits. AHS composed of various concentrations of AB was administered to excision wounds of mice for 14 days.

The team performed microscopic examinations, histological studies and cytokine tests to learn more about how wounds heal. With the use of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, X-ray diffraction, Raman scattering, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, swelling, thermal, rheological and mechanical investigations, these scaffolds have been meticulously characterized and studied.

Researchers developed a new method in conjunction with the AB component for making AHS, which promoted wound healing in mouse models. Their suitability as a raw material for the creation of wound dressings as well as a topical preparation for the treatment of wound infections has been highlighted. The objective of the present study was to evaluate AHS, a topical formulation based on autotrophically produced green microalgae, for its healing potential for excisional skin lesions in mouse models.


At pH 7.4, HS and AHS initially exhibited rapid swelling for 7-9 hours. After 15 hours, steady-state swelling was reached with peak swellings of 2000% and 1900%, respectively. At pH 1, however, the greatest swelling for HS and AHS was up to 1000% and 800%, respectively. Contact angles were determined at 80.0° and 77.9° and 37.2° and 31.6°, respectively, for 0.05 and 0.3% AHS. After 24 hours of incubation for HepG2, the results revealed a cell viability of 95% in the presence of the substances tested. In contrast to the significantly higher incidence of IL-10 in the AHS-treated group, the level of IL-10 in HS-treated mice, 0.3% AHS and 0.3% AB, was only slightly higher.

AHS showed good antibacterial efficacy of 99% against Escherichia coli and 98% against Staphylococcus aureus in addition to having great biocompatibility. In addition to antibacterial properties, AHS as synthesized had the potential to increase the repertoire of more effective wound healing techniques. The enhanced healing ability of the hybrid hydrogel showed better antibacterial properties and faster healing when filling percentages were ideal. They also exhibited remarkable bulking, excellent stretchability and superb biocompatibility. All these findings showed how photosynthetic organisms have the potential to develop new drugs in the field of biomedicine in the future.


In conclusion, this study demonstrated the close relationship between polymer hydrogels and dried AB, which has important ramifications for improving the characteristics of AHS as a composite material. The authors added AB to the polymer hydrogels, which improved the mouse model’s ability to repair wounds. Notably, AHS has shown remarkable antibacterial efficacy against S. aureus and E. coli. Higher skin appendages and collagen deposition were encouraged by 0.3% AHS compared to control groups, while the number of fibroblasts and inflammatory cells decreased and basal laminae were clearly visible.

The antioxidant and phytochemical characteristics of the AB found in AHS were varied. The authors stated that the active ingredients in AB work in tandem to accelerate wound healing. Extracting active components from microalgae would also require a number of downstream processes, which would increase research expenditures and make scaling up difficult. The results suggest that adding BA to the polymer matrix can improve its healing ability and open the door to the creation of potential new biomaterials for use in tissue engineering.

The authors believe that future research on these materials could lead to the development of pro-regenerative microenvironments by delivering therapeutic molecules to the wound site and simulating characteristics of the native extracellular matrix.


Agarwal, A., Sullivan, P., Fu, HC., et al. Hydrogel scaffolds loaded with algal biomass as a biomimetic platform with antibacterial and healing activities. ACS Applied Polymer Materials (2022).

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