, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 7277–7297 | Cite as

A multifunctional electrospun and dual nano-carrier biobased system for simultaneous detection of pH in the wound bed and controlled release of benzocaine

  • Manja KurečičEmail author
  • Tina MaverEmail author
  • Natalija Virant
  • Alenka Ojstršek
  • Lidija Gradišnik
  • Silvo Hribernik
  • Mitja Kolar
  • Uroš Maver
  • Karin Stana Kleinschek
Original Paper


Novel multifunctional bio-based nanofibrous mats were prepared which contain the commonly used pain reducing local anesthetic benzocaine (BZC) and the in situ pH-detecting dye bromocresol green (BCG). These can serve as a dual nano-carrier system for wound healing applications, especially in the treatment of infected wounds. BZC and BCG were introduced into cellulose acetate (CA) based nanofibers using a single-step needleless electrospinning process. The resulting CA nanofibers show a homogenous fiber diameter distribution around 600 nm, hydrophobicity with a water contact angle of 134°, and simultaneous porosities on the nano-micro- scale. In spite of their hydrophobic character, the nanofibrous mats showed a huge water absorption capacity (1657%), as well as good stability at physiological pH (negligible degradation). All the mentioned properties remain unchanged upon the inclusion of either BZC or BCG. Results from the in vitro drug release studies showed a pH dependent (i.e. controllable) release of BZC, and confirmed the expected maximum drug release rate at pH 9.0, which would correspond clinically to the pH of an infected wound. The accompanying color change of the nanofibrous mats, provided through the encapsulated BCG (from yellow to blue), is noticeable within a few seconds after the pH changes from acidic to alkaline. This rapid response of NSAID, together with the visible absorption of included dye, show the capacity of the proposed nanofibrous mats as an in situ pH-detecting system. Finally, the biocompatibility of the proposed nanofibrous mats was proven using human skin fibroblast cells, confirming their potential to be used in wound treatment.

Graphical abstract


Benzocaine Bromocrezol green Point-of-care Biosensor Cellulose acetate nanofibers Drug delivery pH indicator 



The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support for this research received from the Slovenian Research Agency (Grants Numbers: P2-0118, P3-0036, L2-5492, Z2-8168, I0-0029 and P1-0153).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10570_2018_2057_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1415 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manja Kurečič
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  • Tina Maver
    • 1
    Email author
  • Natalija Virant
    • 1
  • Alenka Ojstršek
    • 1
    • 6
  • Lidija Gradišnik
    • 3
  • Silvo Hribernik
    • 1
    • 6
  • Mitja Kolar
    • 4
  • Uroš Maver
    • 3
    • 5
  • Karin Stana Kleinschek
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Laboratory for Characterization and Processing of Polymers, Faculty of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of MariborMariborSlovenia
  2. 2.Institute for Chemistry and Technology of MaterialsGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria
  3. 3.Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of MariborMariborSlovenia
  4. 4.Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical TechnologyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  5. 5.Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MariborMariborSlovenia
  6. 6.Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceUniversity of MariborMariborSlovenia

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