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Swelling-assisted reduction of chitosan molecular weight in the solid state using hydrogen peroxide


Chitosan in the solid state has been degraded in a controlled way by treatment with hydrogen peroxide at room temperature. Chitosan was swollen in diluted NaOH, making it more susceptible to the peroxide treatment. The product has been characterized by intrinsic viscosity, FTIR infrared spectroscopy and roentgen diffraction. The molecular weight and the intrinsic viscosity were reduced significantly (about tenfold). The degree of deacetylation did not change. The chitosan product has a low viscosity (about 100 cP), a lower molecular weight (1.4 × 102 kDa), a high purity and a high crystallinity. It can be used in many potential applications. This method is easy and suitable for a large-scale process.

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The authors thank the Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam who have funded this research and Leibniz-Institute of Polymer Research Dresden, Germany for analytical supports.

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Correspondence to Trang Si Trung.

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Minh, N.C., Cuong, H.N., Phuong, P.T.D. et al. Swelling-assisted reduction of chitosan molecular weight in the solid state using hydrogen peroxide. Polym. Bull. 74, 3077–3087 (2017).

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  • Swelling
  • Solid-state degradation
  • Chitosan