“My experiments are based on inventing new products by adding value to animal and food waste. I have done many successful experiments so far.” This statement is given to BBC Sri Lanka by a Scientist living in Canada.
He is Doctor Nandika Bandara. At the moment he serves the Plants, Food and Echology Management Section of Dalhive University of Canada as an Assistant Professor. While lecturing at the University, he has also focused on making bio materials for the needs of the medical field using agricultural waste or byproducts, based on hydroponics and nanotechnology.
That is how his focus was drawn on creating a skin replacement for large burnt wounds. To cure a burnt wound, a part of the skin is removed and transplanted on the wound. This is possible only to treat a small wound. But if the wound is large, this transplant is not advisable. My intention was to find a solution of treating a large wound.
When the burnt wound is big, transplanting own skin is not practical. When a large part of the skin is removed to transplant another part, it can lead to an infection. What is used to treat a large wound is either Hydro jell wound cover, made of synthetic polymer or wound healing hydro-gel or woven mat. But some get infected due the synthetic polymer content of these covers, because synthetic polymer is totally a foreign body.
Using natural polymer in place of synthetic polymer gives good results, says Doctor Nanadika. He further stated that he is using Bio polymer made of Keratin extracted from chicken feathers and natural Protein or Bio polymer, extracted from Lipid or Poly Sacaride for his experiments.
The issue with Bio polymer compared to synthetic polymer is the flexibility and the durability. The other issue is if we use Bio polymer made of Keratin , Cell adhesion can take more time and there can be a delay in healing of the skin. Doctor Nandika further stated that he is focusing on nanotechnology to find a solution to expedite the recovery of the transplanted skin made of Hydro jell, containing natural substances. What is special in my experiments is using Nano crystalline cellulose.
Cellulose is the main substance containing in plants. We can make Nano cellulose by breaking this substance in to small pieces to increase the flexibility. Doctor Nandika who is very firm in introducing his new product to the medical market within another few years also stated that New Frontier Research Fund of Canada is funding for his experiments.
Another experiment he has done was producing Bio polymer for industrial purposes using protein of Canola seeds. There is no value addition after extracting oil form Canola seeds. But around 40 % Protein remains in the used seeds. My Thesis for the Doctorate was based on making use of Canola seeds to extract Protein after extracting oil from the seeds.
I found that Bio polymer can be made from the Protein of Canola seeds. Doctor Nandika was a product of Kurunegala Maliyadewa College and later on entered the Agriculture Faculty of Peradeniya University.
After the graduation he served private sector for 2 years and entered Alberta University of Canada to pursue is Masters. As a country we will be proud of him as a product of Sri Lanka. But what is pathetic here is , as a country our inability to get his expertise
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