Res. Chem. Intermed.
, Vol. 34, No. 2–3, pp. 169–179 (2008)
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008.
Also available online - www.brill.nl/rci
Aggregate formation and surface activity of partially
deacetylated water-soluble chitin
, CHANGSHENG LIU
and PING CHI
State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology,
Shanghai 200237, P. R. China
Engineering Research Center for Biomedical Materials of Ministry of Education, East China
University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, P. R. China
Received 21 November 2006; accepted 20 January 2007
Abstract—Water-soluble chitin (WSC), partially acetylated, was prepared by using N-acetylation
in mild conditions. The aggregation behavior of WSC in aqueous solution was investigated. The
results showed that the surface tension decreased with increasing WSC concentration in the high dilute
solution, the critical aggregation concentration was about 0.010 g/ml. The degree of deacetylation
had an obvious effect on the surface tension. Introduction of acetyl favored aggregation formation.
The possible aggregation mechanism of WSC in water was attributed to the molecules’ conformation
transition, resulting in change of intra- and inter-molecular interactions such as hydrogen bonding and
Keywords: Chitin; chitosan; ﬂuorescence spectroscopy; surface tension.
Chitin is a natural polysaccharide found particularly in the exoskeleton of crustacea,
the cuticles of insects and the cell walls of fungi. It has β-(1→4)-linked N -acetyl-
-glucosamine repeat units and is the second abundant of polymers found in nature,
next to cellulose. The deacetylated product of chitin, chitosan, is one of basic
polysaccharides which are rare in nature. Its unique characteristics, such as positive
charge, biodegradability, biocompatibility, non-toxicity and rigid linear molecular
structure make the carbohydrate polymer ideal as a drug-delivery carrier and have
been attracted signiﬁcant interest in the biomedical and tissue-engineering ﬁelds
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