Chitosan is a biodegradable natural polycationic linear polysaccharide. Crustacean shells are converted to chitin by deproteinization and demineralization, and further, it is deacetylated to produce chitosan.

Chitosan’s attractive physicochemical properties make it useful in many fields, including medicine, food, agriculture, cosmetics, and water treatment, to name a few.

Choosing the Right Chitosan Product

There are 3 grades of chitosan: medical grade, food grade, and industrial grade. When choosing the most suitable medical-grade chitosan for your research and development project, you must communicate with your supplier often. Ask them questions and for their advice as they can be an important team member.

The selection of chitosan mostly depends on the application you’re using chitosan for and the chitosan functionalities you are targeting for your project. These will then help you to determine the Degree of Deacetylation (DDA%), Molecular Weight (Mw) (kDa), and Viscosity (cps) your chitosan should possess.

Starting, it's often difficult to know exactly which DDA% and Mw you should select. So typically, for your first experiment (proof of concept), it's suggested that you start with two kinds of chitosan products. They both should have a high degree of deacetylation, around 90%-98%, but different molecular weights/viscosities.

The results from these experiments should help you determine which one provides the best characteristics and behaviors within your formulation or system. If not ideal, the better chitosan can lead you to try a third chitosan with a slightly different molecular weight or even a different DDA%.

After selecting the right chitosan, it can be incorporated into a variety of different medical applications, including:

  • Drug delivery and transport facilitators
  • Tissue engineering and regeneration
  • Medical devices and implants
  • Wound care
  • Haemostat
  • Vaccines
  • 3D printing
  • Etc.
  • When chitosan is used for medical, food, and agricultural applications, it is important to consider its quality. If its quality is not up to standards, your product may not function properly. In some cases, it can be rejected by regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, EMA, EFSA, etc. Therefore, it is critical for you to consider chitosan quality. These are the important items you need to consider for determining quality:

  • Purity
  • Impurities
  • Consistency
  • Reproducibility
  • Purity is the chitosan degree of deacetylation (DDA%). The higher the DDA% the higher its purity.

  • Impurities are:
  • Protein content
  • Ash
  • Heavy metals, e.g., mercury, lead, cadmium, etc.
  • Pathogenic microbes, e.g., bacteria, fungi, etc.
  • Once the chitosan and its specifications are decided on, the next step is to check the quality of the chosen one. Your chitosan supplier can be and should be helpful here as well. Make sure to ask them questions and get them to confirm the quality of the chitosan.

    Ask for the following certifications for the product:
    Specifications Data Sheet (SDS)
    Certificates of Analysis (CoA)

    And manufacturing certifications include:
    Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
    International Standards Organization (ISO)

    When choosing your chitosan producer, be careful and sure of the chitosan they help you select; it can mean the difference between a successful or failed project.

    Author's Bio: 

    I am Daisy Bell and a pro-level blogger with years of experience in writing for multiple industries. I have extensive knowledge in Food, Fitness, Healthcare, business, fashion, and many other popular niches. I have post graduated in arts and has keen interest in traveling.