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Mar. Drugs 2010, 8(9), 2493-2516; doi:10.3390/md8092493

N-Acetylglucosamine: Production and Applications

Department of Environment and Biotechnology, Refining & Manufacturing Research Institute, CPC Corporation, 217 Min-Sheng S. Rd, Chiayi, Taiwan
Department of Medical Biotechnology and Laboratory Science, Chang Gung University, Kweishan, Taoyuan, 259 Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Kweishan, Taoyuan, Taiwan
Graduate School of Biochemical Engineering and Department of Chemical Engineering, Ming Chi University of Technology, Taishan, Taipei, 84 Gung-Juan Road, Taishan, Taipei, Taiwan
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 March 2010 / Revised: 19 April 2010 / Accepted: 23 April 2010 / Published: 15 September 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Chitin and Chitosan)
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N-Acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) is a monosaccharide that usually polymerizes linearly through (1,4)-β-linkages. GlcNAc is the monomeric unit of the polymer chitin, the second most abundant carbohydrate after cellulose. In addition to serving as a component of this homogeneous polysaccharide, GlcNAc is also a basic component of hyaluronic acid and keratin sulfate on the cell surface. In this review, we discuss the industrial production of GlcNAc, using chitin as a substrate, by chemical, enzymatic and biotransformation methods. Also, newly developed methods to obtain GlcNAc using glucose as a substrate in genetically modified microorganisms are introduced. Moreover, GlcNAc has generated interest not only as an underutilized resource but also as a new functional material with high potential in various fields. Here we also take a closer look at the current applications of GlcNAc, and several new and cutting edge approaches in this fascinating area are thoroughly discussed.
Keywords: N-acetylglucosamine; chitin; carbohydrateN-acetylglucosamine; chitin; carbohydrate N-acetylglucosamine; chitin; carbohydrateN-acetylglucosamine; chitin; carbohydrate
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Chen, J.-K.; Shen, C.-R.; Liu, C.-L. N-Acetylglucosamine: Production and Applications. Mar. Drugs 2010, 8, 2493-2516.

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