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Applications of chitosan in food, pharmaceuticals, medicine, cosmetics, agriculture, textiles, pulp and paper, biotechnology, and environmental chemistry

Abstract

Chitosan is a biopolymer obtained from chitin, one of the most abundant and renewable materials on Earth. Chitin is a primary component of cell walls in fungi, the exoskeletons of arthropods such as crustaceans, e.g., crabs, lobsters and shrimps, and insects, the radulae of molluscs, cephalopod beaks, and the scales of fish and lissamphibians. The discovery of chitin in 1811 is attributed to Henri Braconnot while the history of chitosan dates back to 1859 with the work of Charles Rouget. The name of chitosan was, however, introduced in 1894 by Felix Hoppe-Seyler. Chitosan has attracted major scientific and industrial interests from the late 1970s due to its particular macromolecular structure, biocompatibility, biodegradability and other intrinsic functional properties. Chitosan and derivatives have practical applications in the food industry, agriculture, pharmacy, medicine, cosmetology, textile and paper industries, and in chemistry. In recent years, chitosan has also received much attention in dentistry, ophthalmology, biomedicine and bioimaging, hygiene and personal care, veterinary medicine, packaging industry, agrochemistry, aquaculture, functional textiles and cosmetotextiles, catalysis, chromatography, beverage industry, photography, wastewater treatment and sludge dewatering, and biotechnology. Nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals are actually growing markets, and therapeutic and biomedical products should be the next markets in the development of chitosan. Chitosan is also the object of numerous fundamental studies. In this review, we highlight a selection of works on chitosan applications published over the past two decades.

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Acknowledgements

The work of one of us (EL) has been supported by the Basic Science Center Program for Ordered Energy Conversion of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51888103).

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Morin-Crini, N., Lichtfouse, E., Torri, G. et al. Applications of chitosan in food, pharmaceuticals, medicine, cosmetics, agriculture, textiles, pulp and paper, biotechnology, and environmental chemistry. Environ Chem Lett 17, 1667–1692 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10311-019-00904-x

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