Date: 02 Jun 2011

Production, Properties and Applications of Fungal Cell Wall Polysaccharides: Chitosan and Glucan

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Abstract

Chitosan and β-glucan have attracted increased interest for use in many pharmaceutical applications, especially in tissue engineering, medicine, and immunology. Commercially, chitosans are produced from the shells of shrimps and crabs and the bone plates of squids. In fungal cell walls, chitosan occurs in two forms, as free chitosan and covalently bounded to β-glucan. Low cost products of these two polymers could be produced using industrial waste mycelia and mycelia obtained from cultivation of fungus in medium obtained from industrial by-products. The quantity and quality of chitosan extracted from fungal mycelia depends on fungal strain, type of fermentation, fermentation medium composition such as trace metal content and concentration of nutrients, pH of fermentation medium, harvesting time of fungal mycelia, and chitosan extraction procedure. The growth of fungi in solid state/substrate and submerged fermentation, synthesis of chitosan and glucan in fungal cell walls, production of valuable products from fungi, production of chitosan and glucan from fungal mycelia, and applications of chitosan and glucan are discussed in this chapter.

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