Chitosan and its derivatives: synthesis, biotechnological applications, and future challenges

  • Muhammad Shahid Riaz Rajoka
  • Liqing ZhaoEmail author
  • Hafiza Mahreen Mehwish
  • Yiguang WuEmail author
  • Shahid Mahmood


Chitosan is a naturally occurring biodegradable as well as a non-toxic polymer generated from chitin through alkaline deacetylation reaction, and it is insoluble in organic/inorganic solvents and water. Furthermore, chitosan is one of the most plentiful cationic polymers in natural surroundings. Due to its non-toxicity and biocompatibility, chitosan is extensively employed in industrial, biomedical, food, pharmaceutical, environmental, and agricultural industry. Chitosan-based biomaterials exhibit great potential in various biotechnological applications, such as anti-hypertensive therapy, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-allergic, immunostimulant, cancer therapy, delivery of genetic materials, delivery of bone morphogenetic type-2, wound healing, treatment of wastewater, hypocholesterolemic, and bio-imaging. Therefore, this review mainly focuses on the biotechnological potential of chitosan and its derivatives as well as presents the potential of chitosan-based biomaterial/pharmaceutical for the prevention of various life-threating chronic disorders.


Chitosan and its derivative Biotechnological potentials Anti-cancerous Anti-oxidant Bio-imaging 



The authors are very thankful to Stephan Wang for his help to revise the manuscript language.

Authors’ contributions

Muhammad Shahid Riaz Rajoka, Liqing Zhao, Hafiza Mahreen Mehwish, and Wu wrote the review. All authors reviewed the manuscript.

Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21606152), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2016A030313053), and the Special Fund for Development of Strategic Emerging Industries in Shenzhen (JCYJ20160520174823939, JCYJ20170817100522830, 20170424181248489).

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

  • Muhammad Shahid Riaz Rajoka
    • 1
    • 2
  • Liqing Zhao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hafiza Mahreen Mehwish
    • 3
  • Yiguang Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shahid Mahmood
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Food Science and Engineering, College of Chemistry and Environmental EngineeringShenzhen UniversityShenzhenPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Devices and System of Ministry of Education and Guangdong Province, College of Optoelectronic EngineeringShenzhen UniversityShenzhenPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacy, School of Medicine, Key Laboratory of Novel Health Care Product; Engineering Laboratory of Shenzhen Natural Small Molecules Innovative DrugsShenzhen UniversityShenzhenPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.College of Management ScienceShenzhenPeople’s Republic of China

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