Chitin is the main component of crab, shrimp, and insect skin, as well as of the cell walls of bacteria and mushrooms. These living creatures produce chitin inside of their bodies to maintain their body structure. Chitin is a natural polysaccharide composed of sequential chains of the monosaccharide acetylglucosamine, similar to cellulose, which is composed of multiple glucose chains. Next to cellulose, chitin is the second largest bioresource on earth.
Chitin nanofiber is a new material made from crab shells. In brief, it can be prepared by making chitin on a nanoscale. Chitin nanofibers have high mechanical strength, high elasticity, and a low thermal expansion coefficient. Therefore, one application of chitin nanofiber is to be applied as the reinforcement fibrous materials for plastic etc. In addition, chitosan nanofiber, which can be obtained from chitin, may be applied as a functional coating and as an additive for glues, sealants, or cosmetics, which have use in bio-medicine, electronics, optics, and so forth.
If one has to define the difference between chitin nanofiber, chitosan nanofiber, and plant-derived cellulose nanofiber, it is in the biocompatibilities and biofunctions of both chitin and chitosan. Chitin and chitosan have been reported to have use in medicine for scars resulting from injury and fires, skin damage; and further medical applications based on these curative properties are being studied.
Green Science Alliance Co., Ltd. has manufactured chitin and chitosan nanofibers in their gel form in water. This form differs from chitin and chitosan powder because they are smaller in size such that they can be mixed with foods, beverages, and cosmetics, and be used in bio medical applications, among others.
Green Science Alliance Co., Ltd. has not yet prepared for their manufactured chitin-based products to be used directly in food and beverages. It is currently suggested that they be used as additives. Production to be used as directly to the food, beverages and their regulating laws will be achieved in the near future.
Below is a list of example applications for chitin and chitosan nanofiber.
- Increasing the moisture and water content of skin.
- Suppressing the inflammation at sites of skin damage and promoting the recreation of bio-tissue.
- Increasing the volume of the upper layer of healthy skin and recreating the dermal layer of biological tissue.
- Protecting the skin from outside stimuli.
- Promoting hair growth using chitin and chitosan.
- Applying chitin nanofiber as a reinforced fiber material by virtue of its high strength, high elasticity, and low thermal expansion coefficient.
- Mitigating inflammation by suppressing the production of inflammation-related substances by dosing chitin and chitosan nanofiber.
- Modifying the diet using chitin and chitosan nanofiber by suppressing fat accumulation in the body via absorption of bile.
- Suppressing an increase in the concentration of cholesterol and lipids in the blood.
- Keeping the intestine in acidic conditions by increasing organic acids that are produced by activating the intestinal bacteria.
- Increasing some metabolic substances in blood vessels.
- Enhancing immune system resistance against bacteria by stimulating the natural immunesystem of plants.
- Promoting plant growth.
As described above, chitin and chitosan nanofiber are remarkable new materials that produce various remarkable effects.