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Chapter 10

Chitin and Chitosan: Sources, Production and Medical Applications

Chitin is a biopolymer of N-acetyl glucosamine. Chitin's deacetylation produces chitosan which is a co-polymer of N-acetyl glucosamine and glucosamine. Chitosan shows better aqueous solubility compared to chitin and has found application in a wide variety of areas. Chitosan has attracted a lot of interest in the biomedical field as it is generally regarded as a biocompatible, biodegradable and versatile polymer. Chitosan has been used extensively in the field of drug and gene delivery. This is due to chitosan's physicochemical properties, and biofunctionality. In gene delivery it forms polyelectrolyte complexes (polyplexes) with nucleic acids which protects them from nuclease degradation. It has also been used to enhance drug, peptide and protein delivery across mucosal membranes due to its bioadhesive and permeation enhancing properties.

Print publication date: 09 Sep 2011
Copyright year: 2011
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-245-1
PDF eISBN: 978-1-84973-351-9
From the book series:
RSC Polymer Chemistry Series