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Chitosan and its attributes

Chitosan has a number of important measures, required by customers, namely Viscosity, Degree of Deacetylation and Quality.  CuanTec strives to provide Chitosan with the highest standards against these measures

Viscosity is a crucial parameter for high-quality chitosan for several reasons:

Purity and Molecular Weight Indication: High viscosity often indicates a higher molecular weight of chitosan, which can be a sign of higher purity and fewer impurities. High molecular weight chitosan is typically more effective in many applications due to its enhanced mechanical and structural properties.

Functional Performance:

Film-Forming Ability: High-viscosity chitosan forms stronger, more cohesive films, which are essential in applications like wound dressings, biodegradable packaging, and coatings. These films are generally more durable, flexible, and provide better protective barriers.

Gelling and Thickening Properties: High-viscosity chitosan can form stable gels and act as a thickening agent. This is important in food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic formulations where consistency and texture are critical.

Controlled Release Applications: In drug delivery systems, high-viscosity chitosan can encapsulate drugs more effectively, allowing for a controlled and sustained release. This property is essential for developing long-acting therapeutic formulations.

Stability and Consistency: High-viscosity chitosan solutions are more stable, which is vital for maintaining the quality and performance of the final product. Consistency in viscosity ensures predictable and reliable outcomes in manufacturing processes.

Bioadhesion and Biocompatibility: High-viscosity chitosan exhibits excellent bioadhesion properties, which is beneficial for medical applications such as wound healing, tissue engineering, and mucoadhesive drug delivery systems. Its ability to adhere to biological tissues enhances its effectiveness in these roles.

Enhanced Water Retention: High-viscosity chitosan has superior water retention capabilities. This property is advantageous in agricultural applications for soil conditioning, in cosmetics for moisturizing products, and in food products to maintain moisture and improve texture.

Versatility in Applications: High-quality chitosan with high viscosity is more versatile and can be used across a broader range of applications. It can be tailored for specific needs by adjusting concentration and molecular weight, providing flexibility in product development.

In summary, viscosity is a key indicator of chitosan quality because it directly affects the biopolymer's functional properties, performance, and suitability for various industrial, medical, and consumer applications. High viscosity generally correlates with enhanced efficacy and versatility, making it a critical parameter in evaluating and utilizing Chitosan.

Deacetylation (DDA)

The degree of deacetylation (DDA) is an important parameter for high-quality chitosan because it directly affects its physicochemical properties and suitability for various applications. It is CuanTec's objective to produce very high DDA and very high viscosity Chitosan.  

Here’s why DDA is crucial and what the optimal levels are:

Importance of Deacetylation Level


  • Very high levels of Deacetylation: Chitosan with very high levels of deacetylation (85% to 95%) has the following unique attributes: higher crystallinity, more surface area, better solubility.  

  • High levels of Deacetylation: Chitosan with a high degree of deacetylation (typically above 70-80%) is more soluble in acidic solutions. Solubility is essential for preparing chitosan solutions and for applications that require chitosan in its dissolved form, such as in biomedical and pharmaceutical formulations.

  • Low levels of Deacetylation: Chitosan with a lower degree of deacetylation is less soluble, which can limit its applicability in some contexts.  

Biological Activity:

  • Antimicrobial Properties: Higher DDA chitosan has better antimicrobial properties, making it more effective for use in food preservation, wound healing, and as a biopesticide.

  • Biocompatibility and Biodegradability: High DDA chitosan is generally more biocompatible and biodegradable, which is crucial for medical applications such as drug delivery systems, tissue engineering, and wound dressings.

Mechanical Properties:

  • Film and Fiber Formation: The mechanical strength and flexibility of chitosan films and fibers improve with higher DDA. This is important for packaging materials, textiles, and biomedical devices.


  • Higher DDA often correlates with higher viscosity, enhancing its gelling and thickening properties.

Chemical Reactivity:

  • Functionalization: High DDA chitosan has more free amino groups, making it more reactive and easier to modify chemically. This is beneficial for applications requiring customized functional properties, such as drug delivery and water treatment.

Optimal Deacetylation Level for High-Quality Chitosan

The optimal degree of deacetylation for high-quality chitosan typically ranges from 70% to 95%, depending on the intended application:

  • 70-80% DDA: Suitable for applications requiring moderate solubility and mechanical properties, such as in some agricultural and cosmetic products.

  • 80-90% DDA: Ideal for most biomedical and pharmaceutical applications, providing a good balance of solubility, bioactivity, and mechanical strength.


  • 90-95% DDA: Preferred for high-performance applications, such as advanced drug delivery systems, high-strength films, and specific industrial processes where maximum reactivity and functionality are needed.


In summary, the degree of deacetylation is a critical quality parameter for chitosan because it influences its solubility, biological activity, mechanical properties, and chemical reactivity. High-quality chitosan typically has a DDA between 70% and 95%, with specific levels chosen based on the requirements of the intended application.

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