Christmas Trees Could Be Used To Help Sterilize Medical Devices

written by Costanza Gabbrielli

As Christmas comes, millions of Christmas trees across the country are headed to the landfill or the wood chipper. But not so fast! That conifer could be put to good use in the field of medicine. A paper published in the International Journal of Biomedical Nanoscience and Nanotechnology show evidence that the needles of Pseudotsuga menziesii, aka the Douglas fir, may be able to help sterilize nano devices destined for the human body. A team of researchers led by chemist Poushpi Dwivedi of MNNIT in Allahabad, India, is in the process of developing a compound derived from the needles of the Douglas fir to help coat nano medical devices and combat infection. One of the largest hurdles for biomedical devices is that despite advances in sterilization techniques, bacteria can still invade implant sites, prosthetics, and tissues. The bionanocomposite from the Douglas fir could potentially cover implants and beat off microbial growth. So, as you vacuum the last remnants of the Christmas season from your living room floor, say a small “thank you” to your tree, as it may someday play a large part in saving your life.