Iranian Polymer Journal

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 307–326 | Cite as

Preparation and application of chitin and its derivatives: a review

  • Mehdi BarikaniEmail author
  • Erfan Oliaei
  • Hadi Seddiqi
  • Hengameh Honarkar


Chitin the second most abundant polysaccharide is synthesized by an enormous number of living organisms including fungi and insects. These biopolymers have found many applications in different areas such as: packaging material, membrane for removal of metal ions, dyes and pigments in waste water engineering; anti-cholesterol, fat binding, preservative and food additive in food industry; seed and fertilizer coating, controlled agrochemical release in agriculture; surface treatment, photographic paper in pulp and paper industry; moisturizer, body creams and lotions in cosmetics and toiletries. It has also found wide applications in biomedical such as tissue engineering, drug delivery, wound dressing, scaffolds, cancer diagnosis, etc. The majority of these versatile applications are coming of its non-toxicity, biocompatibility and biodegradability. Chitin is also easily processed as gel, membrane, and nanofiber. This review emphasizes an extensive bibliography of recent basic and applied research and investigations on the aspects of this interesting biopolymer including the recovery, preparation, modification and application of chitin and its derivatives and related compounds. A new class of biocompatible and biodegradable chitin-based polyurethane (PU) elastomer was also introduced and reviewed in this study and it was found that by incorporation of chitin into the PU elastomer backbone, biocompatibility and degradation rate of the final elastomer improved. PUs are one of the synthetic biocompatible polymers with excellent physical and mechanical properties. Combination of this polymer with chitin resulted to a new tailor-made biocompatible and biodegradable polymer with improved properties. These polymers have potential applications in various applications including biomedical.


Chitin Application Biocompatibility Biodegradability Polysaccharide  Biopolymer 



The authors would like to thank all the researchers whose published articles are used in this review for their invaluable information, investigation and examination in the field of chitin. Financial support of Iran National Science Foundation (INSF), under grant number: BN008 is also highly appreciated and acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Iran Polymer and Petrochemical Institute 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mehdi Barikani
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erfan Oliaei
    • 2
  • Hadi Seddiqi
    • 2
  • Hengameh Honarkar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Polyurethane, Faculty of ScienceIran Polymer and Petrochemical InstituteTehranIran
  2. 2.School of Chemical Engineering, College of EngineeringUniversity of TehranTehranIran

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