Indicator cotton swabs have been developed in order to enable faster, less expensive, and simpler information gathering of a wound status. Swabs are normally used for cleaning the wound, but here, they were covalently functionalized with indicator chemistry. Thus, they in principle enable simultaneous wound cleaning and wound pH detection. Using an indicator dye with a color change from yellow to red, combined with an inert dye of blue color, a traffic light color change from green to red is induced when pH increases. The indicator cotton swabs (ICSs) show a color change from green (appropriate wound pH) to red (elevated wound pH). This color change can be interpreted by the naked eye as well as by an optical color measurement device in order to obtain quantitative data based on the CIE L*a*b* color space. Two types of swabs have been developed—indicator cotton swabs ICS1 with a sensitive range from pH 5 to 7 and swabs ICS2 with a sensitive range from 6.5 to 8.5. The swabs are gamma-sterilized and the effect of sterilization on performance was found to be negligible. Furthermore, cytotoxicity testing shows cell viability and endotoxin levels to be within the allowable range.
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