News



18/09/2009

This sheet cures ulcers
The Aitex institute and a company create a fabric with healing properties successfully tested on patients at the General Hospital.
It is not a miracle sheet but has healing properties, is antibacterial, and prevents sores, a serious headache for the sick and elderly who spend a lot of time in bed. The sheet (fitted sheet) has been tested on 40 patients in the General Hospital of Valencia with a "satisfactory" result , explained Federico Palomar.
 
The secret is in the Chitin, obtained from crabs and shrimps.
 
The U.S.A. tested the substance in field hospitals.
 
The secret of the sheet, developed by Aznar Textil and The Aitex Technological Institute lies in Chitin, a substance that forms in the shell of certain crustaceans, in the cell walls of fungi and bacteria, and some other animals. The major source of raw material are the exoskeletons of crabs and shrimp, a byproduct of the food industry.
 
Chitin is used in medical products such as slimming, and in agriculture (seed coatings to make them more resistant), says Vicente has Cambra, deputy director at Aitex. One of it's derivatives (Chitosan) has a molecular structure similar to cellulose, the structural basis of Cotton. "We obtained Chitin fibre and found that it offered touch, texture, breathability ... everything that a fabric should have," he adds.
 
Before launching into production, the company and Aitex conducted a search of similar applications in the world. They found two: Chitin was used to produce surgical threads in the U.S. (readily biodegradable) and the army of the same country used it to coat field hospital sheets in the Afghan war. The difference with the latter, Eduardo Aznar indicates is that with mere impregnation, the American fabric rapidly lost its effectiveness. The Aznar Textil sheet, marketed under the name Zazen, however, is composed of 30% chitin and 70% cotton and "can be washed at 30 degrees, tumble dried and ironed without losing any of its properties".
 
At the end of the presentation, which took place at the General Hospital, the deputy director of Aitex highlighted the merit of having backed a product that had taken two years to develop. "That in the world of industry is time-consuming and risky, because another competitor may appear and anticipate it."
 
This merit is even more remarkable when you consider that Valencian companies are the least invested in R & D in a country, Spain, which is towards the back of the queue on this matter within the EU. It is often said that it is difficult to do R & D from the so-called traditional sectors. Aznar Textil, a company founded 128 years ago, dedicated to decorative fabrics and linens, which began with little more than a warehouse and a shop, and which before the sheet launched yesterday had launched one with anti-stress properties and another thermoregulatory, is there to question it.
 
The firm sought another company capable of making Chitin into fabric. They told them where to import it from and funded the necessary machinery for spinning it. The resulting product is 10 times more expensive than cotton, Eduardo Aznar acknowledged, but the final retail price is not exorbitant: 50 euros for a bed 90 centimetres wide and 77 euros for 150 centimetres wide.
 
The company wants to sell through traditional channels (stores), but is counting on two major markets: hospitals (they say that 400 of the 1,200 Spanish centers surveyed had requested test samples), and the geriatric.
 
The positive results of tests performed in the General Hospital with newborns with epidermolysis bullosa (a severe skin disease that causes injury with minimum friction), in those almost completely wrapped with the tissue, opens the door to it's application in clothing.