Development of a novel antimicrobial seaweed extract-based hydrogel wound dressing

Shiau Pin Tan, Peter McLoughlin, Laurie O'Sullivan, Maria Luz Prieto, Gillian E. Gardiner, Peadar G. Lawlor, Helen Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to develop a novel antimicrobial seaweed wound dressing. The seaweed extract was active against nine clinically-relevant wound pathogens. A hydrogel formulation was prepared using polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), followed by addition of 1% seaweed extract. The antimicrobial properties of the novel dressing were tested using agar diffusion assays, with release-profiles examined using gel leaching and gel transfer assays. The dressing was found to be effective against the same microbial strains as the seaweed extract, with similar efficacy to the commonly used silver-based dressing, Acticoat®. Antimicrobial release-profile assays revealed that the dressing was effective in inhibiting 70–90% of the bacterial population within the first 30 min, followed by a long, sustained released up to 97 h, without leaving a residue following five subsequent transfers of the dressing. Antimicrobial activity was stable for up to 6 months of storage at 4 °C, but activity was reduced slightly after 15 weeks. Following autoclave sterilization, the dressing displayed a slower release profile compared to a non-autoclaved counterpart. Hence, the seaweed dressing may have commercial applications, potentially competing with silver-based dressings at a lower cost per-application. This is the first report of development of a seaweed-based antimicrobial dressing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-20
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2013


  • Antimicrobial
  • Controlled-drug release
  • Hydrogel
  • Seaweed


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