Chitin: let's know it better

September 13, 2017

Chitin: let's know it better

Chitin is a biopolymer which exoskeletons of insects and shellfish are made.
Let's have a closer look to this biopolymer.

Chitin in shellfish and edible insects

Chitin was discovered by the french chemist and pharmacist Henri Braconnot in 1811 and, after cellulose, it's the most important biopolymer in nature.
In fact, it constitutes the exoskeleton of insects, shellfish, many fungi, such as cellulose it presents the same chain structure called polymer. A polymer is a more or less long molecule made by other molecules or molecules sequences, as in a pearl necklace.

Chitin is a polysaccharide, that is a long-chain sugar in which pearls are molecules of N-acetylglucosamine. The N-glucosamine is a very important substance for the human organism, in fact, it is the precursor of hyaluronic acid and it is used in therapies for the functional recovery of the joints. On the other hand, the hyaluronic acid is also used in the cosmetic industry.
The remarkable strength and the fact that it can be degraded by enzymes present in human tissue, make it an excellent material for suture wires and as component in medical preparation to accelerate the healing of wounds.