Applications and uses of Chitosan and Chitin

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.