A scientist walks into a Healthfood shop in Glasgow and makes a purchase, but whilst he is there he engages the store keeper in conversation about Chitosan, and where does their firm get it from (Holland and Barrett), the outcome appears to give India as an answer and the scientist, our CSO Ryan, says perhaps some day soon you’ll want to get it from us, a more environmentally friendly production version and local.

A few weeks later, a frustrated dairy farmer from Ayrshire, uses his social media reach to ask if anyone anywhere can help him locate a firm that could make a compostable, environmentally friendly, not petroleum plastic, single use milk bottle. He had been looking for 2 years and failed to find anything currently available, nor locate a firm willing to rise to the challenge.

The store-keep saw this message and suggested CuanTec. CuanTec got an email from Bryce at Mossguiel farm.

The rest is history about to be made.

CuanTec are willing to take on the challenge of making a compostable milk container….but we need your help to make that a reality.

 

We have all contributed to the plastic pollution that is covering our land and polluting our oceans. We can all make a difference to solve it. CuanTec have the knowledge and the ideas, but we need support financially to be able to expand our team, get additional equipment and put those ideas into action.

Please support our crowdfunder – coming soon…..

 

With many grateful thanks to all who have heard about the ambitions of CuanTec and believe we can make a difference.

 

Curious about how langoustines waste, normally ending up in landfil, becomes valuable products such as Chitin and chitosan via a sustainable process? Watch the video below:

 

 

Chemicals VS Biological
Deproteination
Low concentration solution of sodium hydroxide at medium temperature for a couple of hours stirring, therefore it uses harsh chemicals while heating and stirring the solution.

Happens in the fermentation using harmless bacteria at low temperature

Eliminating 100% the harsh chemical from the deproteination

Demineralisation
Made with a strong acidsolution, most of the time Hydrochloric acid due to its cheapness and high accessibility, it last up to 2 hours with constant stirring

Happens in two steps:

- during the fermentation using harmless bacteria, 

- then with a slightly more acidic solution than vinegar, at room temperature without stirring

Eliminating 100% the harsh chemical from the demineralisation

Deacetylation

A solution of high concentrated sodium hydroxide is used stirring for up to 24h at high temperatures.

Using a lot of hash chemicals and energy.

In the long run we will use a second fermentation to deacetylate our chitin, therefore achieving a process with no harsh chemicals.

Our current process is a mechanochemical process using 5 times less sodium hydroxide and at room temperature, taking 2 hours, reducing chemicals and energy used as well as time.

 

To know more about chitin and chitosan applications and uses go here.

Chitin is the second most abundant biopolymer in the world. Chitosan is obtained by deacetylation of chitin. Both have numerous applications, some are similar, other specific to the compnent.
See some examples:

Chitin and Chitosan applications

Agriculture

Chitin and chitosan can be use in agriculture on various domains, from fertilizer to pestiscide.
- Pesticide: Chitin help the plant to naturally defends itself against various pests, such as fungus, bacteria, insect
- Fertilizer: Thanks to the nitrogen from its amino group
- Growth regulator

Food

Even though they are still studied, Chitin and chitosan can be of a great use in the food industry, here are some examples:
- Edible film industry: to control the moisture transfer from the environment to the food
- Additive: as a natural flavour extender, or for some research, to reduce cholesterol

Water treatments

As a clarifier and a water filtering aid. Both Chitin and chitosan both bond easily with metals and micro contaminants under water, while being non-allergenic, non toxic and biodegradable, making the water clearer. It is usable in areas like lakes, since they are totally natural, making them a viable alternatives to chemicals water treatments. 

Medical

They are great for the creation of Scaffold in tissue engineering because of: their high porosity, biodegradability, non toxicity, and high biocompatibility.
They are great for wound healing, thanks to their blood blotting ability and antimicrobial activities.

 

Chitin

 

Comestics

Chitin is used in cosmetic because of its hypoallergenic caracteristic, making it highly tolerent.
It is used as a moisturising agent for two reasons:
- it supplies water
- retain water, avoiding dehydration
It is used in hairpsray: to increase stiffness, make curls last longer...

Sutures

Chitin can be used as absordable surgical suture to replacesynthetic polymer currently having a monopoly on the area.

 

 

 

Chitosan

 

Fish industry

Giving chitosan as a diet supplement will reduce the weaning stress as well as preventing bacteria such as E.coli to prolifer,  while helping the proliferation of enterocytes, which is good for preventing  instestinal atrophy.
Chitosan will also help fish gain weight.

Chitosan Dip

Currently to prevent spoilage, while on the boat, fisherman dip shellfish in metabisulphites solution.
With chitosan, you can have the same results, if not better while using a hypoallergenic alternative to metabisulphites.

Food packaging

Bioplastic contact food material, containing chitosan, which give a food packaging compostable and antimicrobial, extending the shelf life of food, without creating plastic pollution

Those examples are only a small portion of what Chitin and Chitosan can do. These biopolymers are under used, researches are still being done, to explore different applications.

To go further and learn about chitin and chitosan history go here.