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Wound dressings
Examples of previously undertaken R & D Projects

Chembiotech Laboratories has conducted research and development for more than one hundred companies and organisations worldwide. Detailed below are examples of work undertaken by Chembiotech Laboratories, which provide some insight into the diversity of research projects that have been carried by Chembiotech Laboratories over the years. Many of the R&D projects undertaken by Chembiotech Laboratories are highly confidential and therefore cannot be discussed in the public domain.
Fibres for Wound Dressings
In conjunction with the University of Bolton, Chembiotech Laboratories has been involved with the design, production and analysis of a range of polysaccharide-based fibres, for potential application in the production of non-woven wound dressings, produced from proprietary combinations of sodium/calcium alginate, Na alginate/alginic acid, branan ferulate, sodium carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), chitosan (& hydrolysed chitosan).
[This work was funded by SSL International Ltd]
{Ref: Alginate fibres modified with unhydrolysed and hydrolysed chitosans for wound dressings, CJ Knill, JF Kennedy, J Mistry, M Miraftab, G Smart, MR Groocock, HJ Williams, Carbohydrate Polymers, 2004, 55(1), 65-76}

Alkaline Degradation of Radioactive Cellulosic Waste

One option for the long-term isolation of radioactive waste from the accessible environment is placement in a repository excavated in stable rock formations, deep underground. Wastes would be packaged in steel or concrete containers, usually with a cement grout and placed in the vaults. Some time later, the vaults would be backfilled with a cement-based material completely surrounding the waste packages. Following closure of a repository and subsequent resaturation of the repository by ingressing groundwater, a high-pH, chemically reducing environment is expected to arise and be maintained. The dissolution of calcium hydroxide from the cement would give long-term porewater pH values of 12.5. The solubilities and sorption of radionuclides are important data in representing their behaviour in assessment calculations of the post-closure performance of a repository for the deep disposal of radioactive wastes. One possible influence is the formation of water-soluble complexants by the degradation of the solid organic polymers present in waste. Chemical degradation of cellulose under alkaline, anaerobic conditions is particularly important. Cellulosic wastes, including paper, tissue, filters, cloth and wood, form a significant proportion of the organic materials in waste in the UK. The ability of the complexants arising from the alkaline degradation of cellulose to mobilise radionuclides, and a detailed understanding of the chemical degradation pathways and mechanisms is therefore important.

Chembiotech Laboratories was contracted to perform a thorough review of the scientific literature on the alkaline degradation of cellulosic materials in order to identify the primary mechanisms involved and identify what organic chemical compounds could be produced.
[This work was funded by AEA Technology]
{Ref: Degradation of cellulose under alkaline conditions, CJ Knill,
JF Kennedy, Carbohydrate Polymers, 2003,
51(3), 281-300}
Degradation of Transformer Insulator
Cellulose, in the form of high-grade paper, in oil, has been utilised for many years as the major insulator in high voltage transformers. With age the cellulose undergoes degradation (reduction in molecular weight), loosing its insulating properties, which results in overheating and transformer failure.
Electricity pylon image
Chembiotech Laboratories developed a colorimetric assay for the detection of cellulose insulator paper thermal degradation products, namely 2-furfuraldehyde and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural, in transformer oil to assist with the monitoring of insulation degradation. This saves costs by not replacing insulation unnecessarily, but also facilitates prediction of when insulation needs replacing before a failure occurs.
[This work was funded by The National Grid Company plc
Sago Starch
Chembiotech Laboratories was chosen by the Malaysian State Government of Sarawak to provide assistance with the development of their newly formed 'Crop Research & Applications Unit (CRAUN)'. This involved the training of CRAUN staff in aspects of carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry, health and safety, and general laboratory practices. Specific attention was focused upon starch and the extraction, analysis and modification/utilisation of sago starch, derived from the sago palm (Metroxylan sagu), indigenous to Sarawak.
{Ref: Industrial production, processing, and utilization of sago-derived products, RS Singhal, JF Kennedy, SM Gopalakrishnan, A Kaczmarek, CJ Knill, PF Akmar, Carbohydrate Polymers, 2008, 72(1), 1-20}
Hydrogel Wound Dressings

Chembiotech Laboratories was contracted to perform a detailed critical comparison of the physicochemical characteristics of the leading polysaccharide-based commercial hydrogel wound dressing products. This included comparison of their composition, adhesiveness, rheological characteristics, and fluid donation/absorption properties.
[This work was funded by SSL International Ltd]