What is the structure and function of chitin?

Chitin is one of the most important biopolymers in nature. It is mainly produced by fungi, arthropods and nematodes. In insects, it functions as scaffold material, supporting the cuticles of the epidermis and trachea as well as the peritrophic matrices lining the gut epithelium.

What is the importance of chitin?

Biological importance

Chitin serves as a protective covering and mechanical support to soft-bodied organisms producing it. In insects and arthropods, chitin is a crucial component of their exoskeleton. Chitin is also present in insect body wall, gut lining, salivary glands, mouth parts, and muscle attachment points.

What is the structure of a chitin?

What is the function of chitin in animals?

Chitin sometimes functions in a manner similar to that of collagen in chordates. It forms the tough, fibrous exoskeletons of insects, crustaceans and other athropods,1 and, in addition to its presence in some fungi, it occurs in at least one alga.

Why is chitin so strong?

It is the same coupling as glucose with cellulose, however in chitin the hydroxyl group of the monomer is replaced with an acetyl amine group. The resulting, stronger hydrogen bond between the bordering polymers makes chitin harder and more stabile than cellulose.

Where is chitin used?

Chitin and chitosan are used in a wide range of biomedical applications such as tissue engineering, drug and gene delivery, wound healing, and stem cell technology (12).

Can the human body digest chitin?

Chitin acts as an insoluble fiber, meaning it doesn’t dissolve in water. That’s why it doesn’t easily break down in our digestive tract.

Do humans have chitin?

Mammals, including mice and humans, do not synthesize chitin but possess two active chitinases, chitotriosidase (Chit1) and acidic chitinase (hereafter referred to as “Chia”; alternative name: acidic mammalian chitinase, AMCase) in their genomes34,35.

Where is chitin found in fungi?

Chitin is widely distributed in many classes of fungi including Ascomycetes, Basidiomycetes, and Phycomycetes. Fungal chitin is a component of the structural membranes and cell walls of mycelia, stalks, and spores.

Is chitin a carbohydrate?

Chitin is a complex carbohydrate, similar to cellulose, that makes up organic structures such as the cell walls of fungi and the exoskeletons of insects and other arthropods.

How strong is chitin?

Interestingly Chitin is actually considerably stronger when dried, so proper treatment can toughen it up. It is light with a density similiar to aluminum. Its ultimate tensile strength is pretty bad (80 MPa when dry) but no worse than acrylic sheeting(70MPa), which you could still make usable armor out of.

What is chitin simple?

chitin. [ kīt′n ] n. A tough, protective, semitransparent polysaccharide forming the principal component of arthropod exoskeletons and the cell walls of certain fungi.

What is chitin in biology?

Chitin is a linear polysaccharide of the amino sugar N-acetyl glucosamine. It is present in the extracellular matrix of a variety of invertebrates including sponges, molluscs, nematodes and arthropods and fungi.

What type of material is chitin?


Chitin is a white, hard, inelastic, nitrogenous polysaccharide and the second most abundant biopolymer (after cellulose) that is found in the exoskeletons of crabs, prawns, insects, and even in the cell walls of fungi. Chitosan is produced by the deacetylation of chitin.

What temperature does chitin break down?

We found that chitin was significantly more resistant to hydrothermal degradation than cellulose, and did not observe any noticeable change up to ~380 °C. Above ~380 °C, the flake of chitin gradually became thinner and disappeared completely at 390 °C.

Why is chitin so insoluble?

The presence of acetyl, amino and hydroxyl groups in the polysaccharide chain, due to the generation of hydrogen bonds (inter and intramolecular) makes the chitin highly aggregated. Therefore, it is insoluble in all regular solvents such as water, organic solvents, mild acidic or basic solution, etc.

Is chitin a protein?

Is Chitin a Protein? Chitin is not a protein, but is similar to protein in that they are both polymers. Protein is made up of amino acids, while chitin is made up of amino sugars.

What type of polymer is chitin?

Chitin, a polymer of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, is highly abundant in nature, since it is present in the exoskeleton of insects, in mollusca, coelenterata, nematodes, protozoa and the cell walls of certain fungi.

How is chitin stored?

Much like cellulose in plants, the chitin is deposited extracellularly with proteins and other molecules. This forms a rigid cell wall between cells, which help the organisms retain their shape. Much like in plant cells, water can be retained in the cells to create water pressure against the cell wall.

Is chitin a carbohydrate or protein?

Chitin is composed of proteins and carbohydrates. It has amine groups along with glucose units. It is a linear homopolysaccharide made up of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine joined together by beta linkages. It is different from cellulose at the site where the hydroxyl is replaced with the acylated amino group.

Is chitin a nucleic acid?

Explanation: Chitin is a carbohydrate. Specifically, it is a polysaccharide used by arthopods to build exoskeletons, and is found in the cell walls of fungi. Waxes are types of lipids, and nucleic acids are DNA and RNA.