Chitin & Chitosan Functional Properties

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Chitin & Chitosan Functional Properties. Shivam Joshi.

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Carbohydrates. Carbohydrate is an organic compound with the general formula Cm(H 2 O)n, which consists of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, the last two in the 2:1 atom ratio. Carbohydrates are hydrates of carbon, hence their name. Carbohydrates play an essential role in human biology and disease development and are a relatively untapped source of bioactive compounds for use as functional foods or pharmaceuticals ..

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Bioactive Compounds. Bioactive compounds (BCs) provide health benefits, especially for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer. A study on pigmented potatoes suggests that the glycemic index is significantly related to the amount of polyphenol present in the potatoes Carbohydrates exhibit a wide variety of unique chemical structures and physiological functions. They are capable of significantly altering texture, gelation and viscosity of aqueous based solutions, and a wide range of products can be developed using carbohydrates as functional ingredients. More importantly, they form the bulk of many foods consumed by humans and play a central role in human health.

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Chitin. Chitin is a large, structural polysaccharide made from chains of modified glucose. Chitin is found in the exoskeletons of insects, the cell walls of fungi, and certain hard structures in invertebrates and fish. In terms of abundance, chitin is second to only cellulose. Chitin ( C 8 H 13 O 5 N ) n is a long-chain polymer of N- acetyglucosamine , an amide derivative of glucose. The second most abundant polysaccharide in nature (behind only cellulose), it is a primary component of cell walls in fungi, the exoskeletons of arthropods such as crustaceans and insects, and the radulae, cephalopod beaks and gladii of molluscs . It is also synthesised by at least some fish and lissamphibians ..

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Structure of Chitin. Chitin is made up of modified glucose monosaccharides. Glucose exists as a ring of carbon and oxygen molecules. Bonds between glucose molecules are known as glycosidic bonds. The oxygens that typically form hydroxyl groups bonded to the carbon ring can also form a bond with another carbon instead of a hydrogen. In this way, monosaccharides can be linked together in long chains. Chitin is formed by a series of glycosidic bonds between substituted glucose molecules..

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Chemistry, physical properties and biological function.

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Cont.. In its pure, unmodified form, chitin is translucent, pliable, resilient, and quite tough. In most arthropods, however, it is often modified, occurring largely as a component of composite materials, such as in sclerotin , a tanned proteinaceous matrix, which forms much of the exoskeleton of insects. Combined with calcium carbonate, as in the shells of crustaceans and molluscs , chitin produces a much stronger composite. This composite material is much harder and stiffer than pure chitin, and is tougher and less brittle than pure calcium carbonate. Another difference between pure and composite forms can be seen by comparing the flexible body wall of a catepillar (mainly chitin) to the stiff, light elytron of a beetle (containing a large proportion of sclerotin )..

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Applications of Chitin. This biopolymer offer a wide range of unique applications including formation of biodegradable films, immobilization of enzymes, preservation of foods from microbial deterioration, as additives (clarification and deacidification of fruits and beverages, emulsifier agents, thickening and stabilizing agents, color stabilization), and dietary supplements. The use of chitosan to produce designed- nanocarriers and to enable microencapsulation techniques is under increasing investigation for the delivery of drugs, biologics and vaccines. Each application is likely to require uniquely designed chitosan-based nano /micro-particles with specific dimensions and cargo-release characteristic.

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Cont.. Shellfish processing produces large quantities of by-products predominantly chitin. Untreated shellfish waste can lead to environmental hazard and can cause health problems. Chitin extraction from crustaceans' shells may be a solution to minimize the waste and to produce valuable compounds. Chitin and its derivatives possess numerous biological properties with various industrial applications..

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Health Effects.

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Thank You.