A protein found in tilapia fish could heal skin wounds, finds a new study by researchers in China.
Applying collagen — a major structural protein in animals — to wounds can help encourage skin to heal faster, said researcher Xiumei Mo from Donghua University in Shanghai.
But when the protein dressing comes from mammals such as cows and pigs, it has the potential to transmit conditions such as foot-and-mouth disease.
Searching for an alternative source of collagen, the researchers developed nanofibres from tilapia collagen and used them to cover skin wounds on rats.
The rats with the nanofibre dressing healed faster than those without it. In addition, lab tests on cells suggested that the fish collagen was not likely to cause an immune reaction.
The researchers concluded that the findings could lead to new therapies for human patients. The findings have been published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
In Kenya, tilapia is used to help control mosquitoes which carry malaria parasites. Tilapia consumes mosquito larvae, which reduces the numbers of adult females, the disease’s vector. studhies have shown.
Tilapia fish inhabit in shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes and less commonly found living in brackish water.
(With inputs from IANS)