ORONO – A wild Maine blueberry can be a delicious and healthy snack. According to a professor at the University of Maine, the fruit also has chemical properties to speed up the healing process of wounds.
“What we saw was when we exposed endothelium cells, which usually line blood vessels, we exposed them in the petri dish to different wild blueberry extracted fractions,” said Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, a professor of clinical nutrition.
Klimis-Zacas has been researching the favorable effects of wild blueberries for more than 20 years. Most recently, she has been focusing on two specific chemicals.
“One was anthocyanins. The other was phenolic acids,” Klimis-Zacas said.
According to Klimis-Zacas, phenolic acids speed up cell migration and the formation of new blood vessels by 38 percent compared to other compounds.
Each compound was observed in the petri dish for eight hours.
Klimis-Zacas’ research could contribute to the field of wound healing and skin regeneration. She said there are many advantages. Especially with the treatment of burns and chronic diabetic wounds.
“By that we’re hoping by the use of that to be able to create a biomedical product for topical application on the wound,” she said.
Klimis-Zacas has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Maine Technology Institute to support this research. She said she plans to use this money, and other grants, to create a business plan for the topical cream and commercialize it.
“It’s a long road and it’s a lot of work but we’re hoping to be able to eventually do it in three to five years,” Klimis-Zacas said.