Chitin (2.5). Chitin is an inherent polysaccharide that is generated by a wide range of living organisms (Goosen et al., 2015). It is mostly produced from fungus and yeast cell walls. However, it can also be obtained from crustacean shells, mollusks, and insects.
Chitin has many applications in the medical field because it is biocompatible and biodegradable. It can be used for drug delivery systems, tissue engineering, and gene therapy vectors due to its positive charge under physiological conditions (Huang et al., 2016). Furthermore, chitin nanospheres have been shown to be effective photothermal agents for cancer treatment.
The main source of chitin is crab and shrimp shells. This material is expensive because it contains 70-80% chitin by weight. Also, there are concerns about environmental impacts and waste management when crab and shrimp shells are discarded after use.
Coral is another source of chitin. It accounts for 95% of all chitin sources on earth. However, coral is mainly used for ornamental purposes because it produces small amounts of chitin.
Fungi and yeast cells contain small quantities of chitin. However, their cultivation methods require extensive time and cost investments before any chitin can be extracted.
Bacterial cells are killed by it. Why is chitin such an essential polysaccharide in biology? It is an essential structural component of fungal cell walls. Fungi are the source of most terrestrial biomass, and therefore play an important role in carbon cycling. They also act as a barrier to pathogens and other organisms that would otherwise consume the plant or animal they are living within.
Chitin is used in medicine as a vaccine adjuant. It has been shown to be an effective adjuvant for vaccines when combined with other substances. One example is the Chitin Bead Vaccine which uses de-acetylated chitin particles as a vaccine carrier. The beads are coated with proteins which function as antigens. When injected into a person they migrate to the lymph nodes where they stimulate an immune response.
In chemistry, chitin is used as a solid support for enzyme immobilization. This avoids the use of toxic organic solvents which are harmful to enzymes and their activity. Enzymes can then be reused over several reactions without loss of activity. This technique is known as "enzyme immobilization".
In physics, chitin is used as a material for optical fibers because of its high strength and hardness compared to other polymers.
Chitin is a chemical component of fungal cell walls. All of these cell-wall components, including chitin, are composed of polysaccharide carbohydrate molecules. Fungi are protected by their cell walls, which allow them to tolerate adverse circumstances such as high heat, cold, and a lack of water. Fungal cell walls also protect the fungus from other organisms that would eat it if it did not have any sort of defense mechanism.
Fungi are responsible for causing many diseases in humans. Some examples include candidiasis, caused by yeast species of the genus Candida; aspergillosis, caused by various species of the mold Aspergillus; and pneumocystis pneumonia, caused by a mold species named Pneumocystis jiroveci. These diseases can be treated with drugs that kill the fungi, such as fluconazole (Diflucan) for candidiasis and aspergillosis, or with drugs that kill bacteria within the lungs (such as tetracycline) for pneumocystis pneumonia.
Some people are allergic to fungi. When someone is allergic to fungi, their body produces antibodies that cause problems when they come in contact with fungi. An example of this is asthma attacks that occur when people with asthma try to avoid cleaning out their houseplants because they think something in the plant material causes their symptoms to worsen.