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Mar Biotechnol (NY). 2006 May-Jun;8(3):203-26. Epub 2006 Mar 17.

Chitin and chitosan: functional biopolymers from marine crustaceans.

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  • 1Department of Materials and Life Science, Seikei University, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-8633, Japan.


Chitin and chitosan, typical marine polysaccharides as well as abundant biomass resources, are attracting a great deal of attention because of their distinctive biological and physicochemical characteristics. To fully explore the high potential of these specialty biopolymers, basic and application researches are being made extensively. This review deals with the fundamental aspects of chitin and chitosan such as the preparation of chitin and chitosan, crystallography, extent of N-acetylation, and some properties. Recent progress of their chemistry is then discussed, focusing on elemental modification reactions including acylation, alkylation, Schiff base formation and reductive alkylation, carboxyalkylation, phthaloylation, silylation, tosylation, quaternary salt formation, and sulfation and thiolation.

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