Chitin and chitosan oligomers: Biochemical aspects and biomaterials components
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Chitin and chitosan oligomer: natural products and the applications Chitin is abundant material in nature. It widely exists in the out skeleton of insects and crustaceans such as shrimps and crabs. Chitin has a long chain structure. Under the association of mineral and protein, chitin helps these creatures build strong skeleton to survive in the world. Since chitin was first isolated by Braconnot in 1811, people never stop their voyage of exploration on chitin and its derivatives. Chitin was found to be a safe and environment friendly material for human being to utilize. To extract pure chitin from the crustacean shells, an investigation into the essence of the relation between chitin and protein was performed in this work. An experimental protocol was proposed for attempts of isolating the chitin-protein from the shells of northern shrimp which is a species in cold parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Chitosan and its oligomers (short pieces of chitosan with varied length) are the main derivatives. They can be used for applications with different purposes. In the work, the mode of action and specificity of an enzyme was identified by degrading chitins and chitosans with known structure. The chitosan oligomers were applied for making hydrogel with another natural product alginate. The hydrogel is a network made by the natural or artificial materials for capturing large amount of water. When the materials are safe for human, these hydrogels can be used for biomedical field such as carrying the medicine. furthermore, these oligomers can be attached with medicine by certain linkers in the gelling system. To find the stable chitosan oligomers with linkers is the first step for its medicinal application. The present work proposed a type of chitosan oligomers with two different linker which are promising. Please feel free to contact the author for any questions.