Transforming nanostructured chitin from crustacean waste into beneficial health products: a must for our society
P Morganti1, G Morganti2, A Morganti3,4
1Department of Dermatology, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy; 2Centre of Nanoscience, Mavi Sud s.r.l, Aprilia, Italy; 3Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Munich, Germany; 4Lextray, Milan, Italy
Abstract: Chitin, obtained principally from crustacean waste, is a sugar-like polymer that is available at low cost. It has been shown to be bio- and ecocompatible, and has a very low level of toxicity. Recently, it has become possible to industrially produce pure chitin crystals, named "chitin nanofibrils" (CN) for their needle-like shape and nanostructured average size (240 × 5 × 7 nm). Due to their specific chemical and physical characteristics, CN may have a range of industrial applications, from its use in biomedical products and biomimetic cosmetics, to biotextiles and health foods. At present, world offshore disposal of this natural waste material is around 250 billion tons per year. It is an underutilized resource and has the potential to supply a wide range of useful products if suitably recycled, thus contributing to sustainable growth and a greener economy.
Keywords: chitin nanofibrils, biomimetic cosmetics, biomedical products, food, nanotechnology, waste
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