2, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, , Brazil
Alginate is a polysaccharide found in the brown algae’s cell walls and widely used in the pharmaceutical, food and environmental care industry. It has excellent properties for use as biomaterial, as it is biodegradable, biocompatible and non-toxic. In the literature, several studies point alginate as a powerful healing agent. It has been proposed the use of a drug (enzyme) to be used with alginate membranes to accelerate and increase its healing power. Papain is a drug sold commercially and used for the treatment of skin lesions, but it is found as powder or as ointment, making the treatment less efficient since the contact with the drug cannot be modulated. The papain immobilization was studied in alginate membranes in order to provide a stable environment to the enzyme and increase the contact time with the skin. Two immobilization methodologies were used: by entrapment, where the enzyme was added to the alginate gel, followed by the production of membranes, and by physical diffusion, where the membranes were immersed in solution with papain and the enzyme is diffused. Assays were performed in order to analyze the enzyme stability and the release profile after immobilization, moreover a biological test in which hemolysis (blood cell disruption) was measured to evaluate the behavior of the material with the biological tissue (blood). It was found that the best method for papain immobilization on alginate matrix was by diffusion, since higher active papain content available for reaction was obtained, as well as a higher and faster release profile by the diffused membrane occurred when compared to the membrane with entrapped papain. A non-hemolytic membrane was also obtained, since no blood cells were disrupted. Based on these initial tests, it was possible to obtain a bioactive biomaterial with good properties to be applied as wound dressing.