What are chitin Chitin and chitosan?
Chitin is a polysaccharide that occurs naturally in many organisms, such as crustaceans and insects, and can be processed into a plastic-like material called chitosan.
Chitosan can be used as a basis for the production of bioplastics, which are plastics based on natural materials that degrade more sustainably than conventional plastics.
Chitin and chitosan are two natural sugar polymers that have numerous industrial applications, including:
Food: chitosan is used as a food additive for weight loss due to its prebiotic and antioxidant properties.
Medical: chitin and chitosan are used as dressing materials, dialysis filters and coating materials for medical devices.
Agriculture: chitosan is used as an organic fertiliser and as a biopesticide due to its ability to kill fungi and pests.
Packaging: chitosan is used as a biodegradable material for food packaging.
Cosmetics: chitin and chitosan are used as ingredients in cosmetic products such as creams, lotions and shampoos due to their moisturising and nourishing properties.
Chitin is a main component of the exoskeleton of insects, crustaceans and other arthropods. Chitin is extracted from these organisms and processed into chitosan, which can be used in various industries. However, there are also sources of chitin of non-animal origin, such as algae and fungi, that can be used to produce chitosan.
Insect-derived chitin is generally of higher quality, in terms of purity and concentration, than that obtained from other sources such as algae or mushrooms. The chitin found in insect exoskeletons is often purer than other sources, as insects are very specialised organisms and chitin is an essential component of their external structure.
Furthermore, the chitin found in insects can be easily extracted and purified, making it suitable for use in a wide range of industrial applications, including the food, medical, agricultural, cosmetic and packaging sectors.
In summary, insect-derived chitin is considered of high quality due to its purity and concentration properties, and its availability and adaptability for a wide range of industrial uses.