Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 5, pp 1989–2006 | Cite as

Applications of cellulose and chitin/chitosan derivatives and composites as antibacterial materials: current state and perspectives

  • Shahia Khattak
  • Fazli Wahid
  • Ling-Pu Liu
  • Shi-Ru Jia
  • Li-Qiang Chu
  • Yan-Yan Xie
  • Zi-Xuan Li
  • Cheng ZhongEmail author


The bacterial infections have always a serious problem to public health. Scientists are developing new antibacterial materials to overcome this problem. Polysaccharides are promising biopolymers due to their diverse biological functions, low toxicity, and high biodegradability. Chitin and chitosan have antibacterial properties due to their cationic nature, while cellulose/bacterial cellulose does not possess any antibacterial activity. Moreover, the insolubility of chitin in common solvents, the poor solubility of chitosan in water, and the low mechanical properties of chitosan have restricted their biomedical applications. In order to solve these problems, chemical modifications such as quaternization, carboxymethylation, cationization, or surface modification of these polymers with different antimicrobial agents, including metal and metal oxide nanoparticles, are carried out to obtain new materials with improved physiochemical and biological properties. This mini review describes the recent progress in such derivatives and composites with potential antibacterial applications.


Chitin/chitosan Cellulose Derivatives Composites Antibacterial applications 



This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 31470610 and no. 21576212), Natural Science Foundation of Tianjin (17YFZCSF01120 and 18PTSYJC00140), and the Youth Innovation Foundation of Tibet (no. QC2015-27).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shahia Khattak
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fazli Wahid
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ling-Pu Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shi-Ru Jia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Li-Qiang Chu
    • 3
  • Yan-Yan Xie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zi-Xuan Li
    • 4
  • Cheng Zhong
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Industrial Fermentation Microbiology, Ministry of EducationTianjin University of Science and TechnologyTianjinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Food Nutrition and SafetyTianjin University of Science and TechnologyTianjinPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of Chemical Engineering and Materials ScienceTianjin University of Science and TechnologyTianjinPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.School of MedicineTibet UniversityLhasaPeople’s Republic of China

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