Found in large quantities inside shells of various crustaceans, chitin is a rather promising polymer compound that can be used in the widest field of human activity – for example, early studies have indicated that chitin can be used as the basis for self-healing automotive paint, medical new type patches and biodegradable food wrappers. However, the traditional method of extracting chitin from shells using various alkalis and acids has its drawbacks, mainly in the context of sequential pollution of the aquatic ecosystem.
That is why a talented team of scientists from the Singapore Technological University decided to present the results of their new study on the use of an alternative method that is much safer for the marine ecosystem and, most importantly, the optimal method of chitin purity in terms of the final purity indicator. To do this, they conducted several experiment sessions using peels of various fruits, including apple, orange and banana, because they intended to chemically separate chitin from shells with the help of glucose contained in the skin, which starts the process of enhanced fermentation, which actually turned out to be even faster and more successful, than expected.
When scientists measured the final purity of the obtained chitin, they found that it increased to 98%, which, unlike 87% with the standard extraction method, is a real environmental victory – so while scientists continue to work in this direction and plan to present additional options for their new project.
It is worth noting that the remnants of fruits and various food crops can actually enhance the natural processes of fermentation inside different and similar polymers of different types, and therefore they have such a promising character in comparison with more traditional and much more dangerous for the ecological situation extraction methods various useful polymers. So it remains to wait for the corresponding results of a subsequent nature.