Today we can find synthetic polymers in almost every application. These can be exchanged with natural polymers that doesn’t harm people or the environment. Below are just some of the areas where use of natural polymers as Chitin, Chitosan and Alginate may be relevant:
- Water treatment
Chitosan is a coagulant/flocculant in water treatment with the treatment efficiency for particulate material of 99% or higher. It is a good alternative to the traditional metal-based coagulants as the problem of metal residues is avoided. Besides, the sludge volume is reduced by approximately 50% when chitosan is used, and absence of the metal content in sludge allows applying it in agriculture.
- Food and beverages
Chitosan is a component of cholesterol-lowering products and dietary fibers, which work by absorbing fat molecules, allowing them to pass through the digestive tract without being digested. The polymer is also a biological preservative, thickener and stabilizer.
Chitin and Chitosan are natural soil fertilizers with an ability to stimulate microbiological activity in the soil and promote plant growth.
Chitosan forms a translucent film on the surface of fruits, vegetables and seeds, prolonging their storage period, or induces a series of defensive reaction mechanisms on fruits and vegetables, blocking attacks from bacterias. It can function as a frost protector as well.
Chitosan and Chitin are the essential components in skin-care creams, shampoos and hairsprays since they function like thickeners, possess antibacterial properties and are able to prevent cosmetic dehydration.
Chitin and its derivatives have been studied in medicine and pharmaceutic as immunologic, bacteriostatic, hemostatic and antitumoral components, dressing materials and polymers for controlled drug delivery and release.
- Other applications
- Healing of burns
- Sewing threads in surgery
- Plastic production
- Impregnation of textiles and wood
- Additive in ice cream