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Chitin And Chitosan Fibers

Chitin is a polysaccharide extracted from the shells of marine crustaceans. While chitosan is the most important derivative of chitin. Alfa Chemistry provides high-quality chitin and chitosan fiber products to meet the needs of biomaterial research.


Chitin and chitosan are natural polymers extracted from various plants and animals. Benefiting from their unique properties such as biodegradability and biocompatibility, chitin and chitosan fibers have always been extremely attractive in the research and application of chemistry, biochemistry, biology, biotechnology, medicine, pharmacology, food science, marine science, agriculture and many other related fields.


  • Chitin
    The chemical formula of chitin is (C8H13O5N)n. It is a polymer composed of 1000 to 3000 acetylglucosamine residues connected to each other through 1,4 glycoside chains. According to its origin, chitin exists in nature in three polymorphic forms, namely α-chitin, β-chitin and γ-chitin. The α-chitin, β-chitin and γ-chitin correspond to antiparallel, parallel and alternating arrangements of polymer chains, respectively.


  • Chitosan
    Chitosan is a product with a deacetylation degree of chitin over 70%, and it is also the only natural alkaline polysaccharide discovered so far. This biopolymer is a linear polysaccharide composed of 2-amino-2-deoxy-(1-4)-β-D-glucopyranose residues (D-glucosamine units). The amino group in the molecular structure of chitosan is more reactive than the acetylamino group in the chitin molecule, which makes the polysaccharide have excellent biological functions and can carry out chemical modification reactions. As a renewable biopolymer, chitosan has attracted extensive attention due to its biodegradability, biocompatibility, nontoxicity, ease of chemical modification, and excellent chelation ability.



In general, crystalline polysaccharides such as chitosan and cellulose have poor water solubility. The semi-crystalline structure of chitin and the presence of a strong intramolecular and intermolecular hydrogen bond network provide the insolubility of this polymer in common organic and inorganic solvents. Chitosan is insoluble in organic solvents or water, but it is soluble in most acidic aqueous solutions such as acetic, citric, formic, oxalic and lactic acids, below its pKa (pH = 6.5), and some other solvents such as dimethyl sulfoxide, p-toluenesulfonic acid, and 10-camphorsulfonic acid.

Fiber Preparation Method

Fiber Preparation Method

In general, typical fiber preparation methods include melt spinning, dry spinning, and wet spinning. However, since the melting points of chitin and chitosan are higher than the thermal decomposition temperature, melt spinning is not feasible. Due to their dissolution properties, dry spinning also appears to be more difficult to achieve. At present, the spinning technology of chitin and chitosan fibers adopts wet spinning, such as electrospinning technology.


  • Biomedical
    Researchers have successfully used chitin and chitosan fibers for various pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. Chitin and chitosan fibers can be used to develop drug delivery systems, make biodegradable bandages, serve as inert diluents for drugs, wound dressings and scaffolds for tissue engineering, and many other potential uses.[1]
  • Water Treatment
    The presence of functional groups on chitosan, namely free amines and hydroxyl groups, enables it to have good pollutant adsorption capacity. For example, A. Mirmohseni et al. developed chitosan hollow fibers as efficient biosorbents for dyes. [2]
  • Cosmetic
    Chitosan-based nanofibers have been used in the cosmetic industry for skin healing and other medical and therapeutic properties. Chitosan fiber is highly hydrophilic and biocompatible, making it an ideal material for the production of masks. Additionally, they can be used to carry various bioactive ingredients for sustained release to the skin. [3]


  1. HakimaEl Knidri, et al. Handbook of Chitin and Chitosan, 2020, 1, 35-57.
  2. Mirmohseni, et al. Bioresource Technology, 2012, 121, 212-220.
  3. Y. Qin, et al. J Textile Eng Fashion Technol. 2017, 1(6):228-231.

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