Questions for “Bandages made from crab shells speed healing”

a pile of cooked crab claws on a plate

Seafood shells, such as from crab claws (here), contain a valuable material called chitin. Researchers have turned chitin into a new type of medical dressing that can boost wound healing.

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To accompany “Bandages made from crab shells speed healing


Before Reading:

1.  When you scrape your skin or a blister pops open, how do you treat the resulting sore?

During Reading:

1.  What is chitin and where is it found?

2.  What is most of the gauze in medicine made from today? Why did Jinping Zhou’s team think that chitin might be a better substitute?

3.  What advantages did the chitin gauze offer in the new study?

4.  What is chitin made of and what is one property of the acetyl groups found in chitin?

5.  How did Zhou’s group make the fibers used in the new gauze?

6.  What does Mark Messerli describe as one limitation of the current tests of chitin in wound healing?

7.  Why does he think surgeons might find the new gauze useful?

After Reading:

1.  Why do you think the speed at which a wound heals is important?

2.  Francisco Goycoolea says it may soon be possible to grow chitin-rich algae and fungi in warehouses. You’d no longer need to start with seafood wastes. Do you think that approach would be better for the environment, worse or no different? Explain your reasoning.