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A Review of Various Sources of Chitin and Chitosan in Nature

Benedict Terkula Iber1,2,*, Nor Azman Kasan1,*, Donald Torsabo1,2, Jenifer Wese Omuwa2

1 Higher Institution Center of Excellence (HICoE), Institute of Tropical Aquaculture and Fisheries, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Nerus, 21030, Malaysia
2 Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University Makurdi, Makurdi, 2373, Nigeria

* Corresponding Authors: Benedict Terkula Iber. Email: ; Nor Azman Kasan. Email:

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Renewable Material from Agricultural Waste and By-Product and Its Applications)

Journal of Renewable Materials 2022, 10(4), 1097-1123.


Chitin was first discovered by its name from the Greek word “chiton”, which means “mail coat”. It is indeed a polysaccharide made up of naturally occurring acetyl-D-glucosamine monomers. Hatchett was the first researcher who extracted chitin from the shells of mollusks (crabs and lobsters), prawns, and crayfish in 1799. Later in 1811, Henri Braconnot discovered chitin in the cell walls of mushrooms and called it “fungine”. Chitin and chitosan are abundant in the biosphere as essential components of many organisms’ exoskeletons and as by-products of the global seafood industry. The biopolymer must be deacetylated before chitosan can be produced. It can also be extracted using microbes in a biological extraction procedure. The development of products that take advantage of the bioactivities of the existing primary commercial source of chitin (crustacean) has lagged expectations. Also, the disadvantages of the present commercial source such as seasonality and competition for other uses among others has been one of the driving forces towards seeking alternative sources of chitin and chitosan in nature. This review highlights some of the efforts made by environmental scholars to locate possible commercial sources of chitin and chitosan in nature over time.


Cite This Article

Iber, B. T., Kasan, N. A., Torsabo, D., Omuwa, J. W. (2022). A Review of Various Sources of Chitin and Chitosan in Nature. Journal of Renewable Materials, 10(4), 1097–1123.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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