Published Date : Mar 07, 2016
Chitosan is a natural and biodegradable polymer that is derived from the shells of shrimp and other crustaceans such as squids, lobsters, and crabs. Chemically it is composed of an organic carbohydrate polymer containing chitin. Chitosan is also found in fungus in substrate fermentation. The demand for chitosan is highest across the water treatment application segment, especially in the regions such as North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe. Rapid industrialization in these regions has led to water pollution. With stringent regulations regarding waste water management, chitosan is being increasingly used as a flocculant to treat wastewater. It is an effective coagulant for both organic and inorganic compounds present in water. It is also used as a chelating agent to bind with the highly toxic heavy metals such as lead present in industrial wastewater. In the coming years, the demand for chitosan will surge in developing regions in Asia Pacific.
Researchers have Developed Chitosan-Derived Food Packaging Material
Food packaging material developed from shrimp shells might hold the future of the food packaging industry. Researchers from the National University of Singapore have developed an environment-friendly food packaging material derived from chitosan. Free from chemical additives, the natural chitosan-based composite film with grapefruit seed extract can decrease fungal growth and enhance the shelf life of perishable food products. Chitosan is antifungal and antimicrobial in nature and grapefruit seed extract has anti-viral properties and is an antioxidant. The mechanical strength and flexibility of the composite film are comparable to synthetic polythene film. Currently, synthetic polythene film is widely used in the food packaging industry. The film blocks ultraviolet light and slows down the oxidation process and photochemical reactions. This increases the shelf life of food products. It would be interesting to see that how this chitosan-derived food packaging material would be commercialized in the market.