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Teen wins $25,000 for invention of sutures that detect possible infections

Posted at 12:17 PM, Apr 05, 2021

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A teen in Iowa won $25,000 at the Regeneron Science Talent Search for her invention of sutures that change colors to warn of possible infections.

A senior at Iowa City West High School, Dasia Taylor came up with the idea in October 2019 after reading about sutures coated with a material that can detect a wound's status, The Washington Post reported.

After using the juice from nearly three dozen beets, Taylor learned that the sutures worked when the color of the beet juice would turn from red to dark purple if a surgical wound were infected.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the average pH level of healthy skin is a five but goes up to a nine when a wound is infected.

In an interview with The Smithsonian, Taylor said she became interested in infections, particularly those that occur after Cesarean sections in impoverished nations, because she "couldn't help but look at it through an equity lens."

According to The Society for Science, Taylor was named the Seaborg Award winner at this year's event.