Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 53–60 | Cite as

Agricultural uses of chitin polymers

  • Julia L. ShamshinaEmail author
  • Adrian Kelly
  • Tetyana Oldham
  • Robin D. Rogers


Due to strict legislation which governs the use of pesticides, fertilizers and plant growth regulators, there is a demand for organic alternatives. Potential risks for people, possible long-term health effects, and pesticide environmental fate resulted in a widespread societal issue. Because sustainable agriculture interconnects the economically and socially, the use of environmentally sound compounds has become popular. Improving plant growth using natural compounds such as chitin, a carbohydrate chain polymer, and its derivatives is a promising sustainable agriculture strategy. Chitin and its derivatives exhibit a unique mode of action being at the same time safe and non-toxic by nature. They are recognized as promising soil amendments for improving soil quality, induce abiotic and biotic plant stress tolerance, boost defense mechanism of plants against invading microorganisms, elicit the production of secondary metabolites, and protect the safety of edible products. Here, we review beneficial effects of chitin as a fertilizer, soil conditioning agent, plant disease control agent, antitranspirant, ripening retardant, and seed and fruit coating.


Agriculture Sustainable development Chitin fertilizer Biocide Elicitor Plant growth regulator 



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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, LLCRockvilleUSA
  2. 2.525 Solutions, Inc.TuscaloosaUSA

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