Implications of molecular diversity of chitin and its derivatives

Faez Iqbal Khan, Safikur Rahman, Aarfa Queen, Shahzaib Ahamad, Sher Ali, Jihoe Kim*, Md Imtaiyaz Hassan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Chitin is a long unbranched polysaccharide, made up of β-1,4-linked N-acetylglucosamine which forms crystalline fiber-like structure. It is present in the fungal cell walls, insect and crustacean cuticles, nematode eggshells, and protozoa cyst. We provide a critical appraisal on the chemical modifications of chitin and its derivatives in the context of their improved efficacy in medical applications without any side effect. Recent advancement in nanobiotechnology has helped to synthesize several chitin derivatives having significant biological applications. Here, we discuss the molecular diversity of chitin and its applications in enzyme immobilization, wound healing, packaging material, controlled drug release, biomedical imaging, gene therapy, agriculture, biosensor, and cosmetics. Also, we highlighted chitin and its derivatives as an antioxidant, antimicrobial agent, anticoagulant material, food additive, and hypocholesterolemic agent. We envisage that chitin and chitosan-based nanomaterials with their potential applications would augment nanobiotechnology and biomedical industries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3513-3536
Number of pages24
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Chitin
  • Chitinase
  • Chitosan
  • Nanobiotechnology
  • Pharmaceutical materials
  • Polysaccharide


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