Chitosan is a linear polysaccharide composed of randomly distributed β-(1-4)-linked D-glucosamine (deacetylated unit) and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (acetylated unit). It has a number of commercial and possible biomedical uses. Chitosan is produced commercially by deacetylation of chitin. Chitin (C8H13O5N)n is a long-chain polymer of a N-acetylglucosamine, a derivative of glucose, and it is found in many places throughout the natural world. It is the main component of the cell walls of fungi, the exoskeletons of arthropods, such as crustaceans (like the crab, lobster and shrimp) and the insects, including ants, beetles and butterflies, the radula of mollusks and the beaks of the cephalopods, including squid and octopuses. The shrimp processing industry in India turns out more than 1.25 lakh tones of head and shell waste per annum.  Until recently, it was creating enormous environmental pollution problems. Nearly 7,000 tonnes of chitin can be produced from the prawn shell which is thrown out as waste now. CIFT has developed a method for the extraction of chitin from shrimp shell waste   The wet prawn shell collected from the peeling centers is initially converted in to chitin which is then converted to chitosan by a chemical process deacetylation. Then the alkali free dried and powdered chitosan can be bagged in polythene lined HDPE (high density polythene) woven sacks.

Technology Benefits:

  • Chitosan find various industrial applications like, biotechnology, food processing, pharmacy and medicine.
  • Boiler chicks diet with chitin was found to improve the feed efficiency, resulting in about 10-12% weight gain in the birds compared to a chitin free diet
  • Use of chitin for the production of Glucosamine hydrochloride finds applications in antibiotics and baby food formulations.
  • Chitosan can be used as sizing material for textiles
  • It can be used as a water/ wine clarifying agent and also in the preparation of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals etc.
  • Recent studies have shown the effectiveness of Chitosan (in the form of microfined powder) impregnated gauze and film for treatment of chronic wounds and external ulcers and to arrest/ minimize bleeding in brain surgery.
  • Chitosan film can also be used as artificial skin and kidney membrane, and as contact lens.
  • Since this is a product from the waste generated from the commercial prawn peeling centres, the environmental problems like, off smell, insect proliferation etc. can be reduced.

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