, Volume 30, Issue 11, pp 627-635
Date: 11 Nov 2003

Detection and characterization of chitinases and other chitin-modifying enzymes

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Multiple industrial and medical uses of chitin and its derivatives have been developed in recent years. The demand for enzymes with new or desirable properties continues to grow as additional uses of chitin, chitooligosaccharides, and chitosan become apparent. Microorganisms, the primary degraders of chitin in the environment, are a rich source of valuable chitin-modifying enzymes. This review summarizes many methods that can be used to isolate and characterize chitin-modifying enzymes including chitin depolymerases, chitodextrinases, chitin deacetylases, N-acetylglucosaminidases, chitin-binding proteins, and chitosanases. Chitin analogs, zymography, detection of reducing sugars, genomic library screening, chitooligosaccharide electrophoresis, degenerate PCR primer design, thin layer chromatography, and chitin-binding assays are discussed.