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BioNano Monographs
Chitosan and Its Derivatives as Promising Drug Delivery Carriers
M. Prabaharan
M. Prabaharan
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ASME Press
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Chitosan is a cationic polymer, which is the second most abundant polymer in nature after cellulose [10]. Chitin is the primary structural component of the outer skeletons of crustaceans, and is also found in many other species such as molluscs, insects and fungi. The most commonly obtained form of chitosan is the a-chitosan from crustacean chitin obtained from crab- and shrimp shell wastes [11]. This accounts for approximately 70% of the organic compounds in such shells. In preparing chitosan, ground shells are deproteinated and demineralized by sequential treatment with alkali and acid, after which the extracted chitin is deacetylated to chitosan by alkaline hydrolysis at high temperature. Production of chitosan from these sources is inexpensive and easy. It has also been suggested that other sources of chitin, e.g. b-chitin from squid pens, may be valuable in relation to the preparation of chitosan [12]. Chitosan as such is rare in nature, except in certain fungi. In recent years, the production of chitosan from fungi, using fermentation methods is also gaining much interest [13].

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