INTRODUCTION TO CHITIN CHITOSAN
Chitosan is a product derived from chitin, a compound of natural origin obtained from the shell of crab and shellfish. Chitin is an absolutely “safe” material, with a scientifically proved biocompatibility, and it is used in the medical, health and pharmacological fields too. The chitosan’s structure is very similar to cellulose, so in blends with cotton and viscose.
From the physical resemblance between chitosan and cellulose derive a very high textile easiness for manufacturing, with an excellent dye ability with reactive and direct dyestuff, and a very soft “hand”.
The antibacterial and antimicrobic performance is given with the inhibition of the bacteria’s’ growth, so having an anti-smell function too. The high level of comfort, the anallergicity and the high humidity absorption (e.g. sweat) give to the clothes realized with this fiber the capability to be used to direct skin contact, as in underwear, socks, pyjamas, and so on.
WHAT IS CHITIN / CHITOSAN?
Chitin is the natural polysaccharide biologically produced by living creatures on the earth in huge quantities. Its production is similar to the cellulose, which is biologically produced by plant.
Chitin and chitosan have a very similar chemical structore to that of cellulose as can be seen per picture below.
Chitin/Chitosan is a white and porous polysaccharide that forms a base for the hard shell of crustaceans like crabs, lobsters and squids. It is also found in:
like dragonflies. grasshoppers and beetles
like shiitake and enokidake
- cell wall of fungi
It is also estimated that about 150'000 tons of Chitin is available for commercial use annually. However. only a few thousand tons are actually used in the world.
As long as Chitin is a natural substance included in food such as crabs, shrimps, mushrooms etc it is quite a safe material. Its safety has been verified scientifically through many tests.
WHY CHITIN / CHITOSAN?
One point is its high function. It is known that Chitin/Chitosan is biologically produced on the earth in large quantities and that Chitin/Chitosan has many excellent properties.
Major and basic function is activation of lysozyme and chitinase enzymes which decompose cell membrane and inhibit growth of disease bacteria. Through this function natural bio system is kept well balanced and human body is protected against disease bacteria and toxic substances.
The other point is its safety. Since Chitin is 100% natural it is quite a safe substance. Safety has been well verified through oral intake and dermal absorption tests. This is quite different from the other organic and inorganic functional materials now in the market.