Conversion of Chitin in Ionic Liquids
Living reference work entry
Present in the exoskeleton of arthropods or in the cell walls of fungi, chitin belongs to the most abundant polysaccharides after cellulose and is composed of linear chains of β-(1 → 4)- N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. There are three types of chitins (α-, β-, γ-chitin) with different crystallographic structures. Among them, α-chitin, the most prominent form, is arranged in an antiparallel fashion and is found in both crustacean and insects’ sources [ 21]. Despite its excellent biodegradability, biocompatibility, antimicrobial activity, nontoxicity, low immunogenicity, and good mechanical properties, chitin remains underutilized. This limitation in terms of application is mainly due to: (i) the low extraction efficiency, (ii) the extraction costs excessively high and not environmentally friendly, and (iii) the lack of solubility of this hydrophobic biopolymer. To overcome this weak solubility, pretreatments (chemical, mechanical, enzymatic, …) are interesting alternatives by...
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