Polymers 2011, 3(4), 1875-1901; doi:10.3390/polym3041875
Review

Biomedical Activity of Chitin/Chitosan Based Materials—Influence of Physicochemical Properties Apart from Molecular Weight and Degree of N-Acetylation

1 Faculty of Chemistry, University of Gdansk, Sobieskiego 18/19, PL-80-952 Gdansk, Poland 2 UFT—Centre for Environmental Research and Sustainable Technology, University of Bremen, Leobener Straße UFT, D-28359 Bremen, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 August 2011; in revised form: 14 October 2011 / Accepted: 2 November 2011 / Published: 3 November 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water-Soluble Polymers)
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Abstract: The physicochemical nature of chitin and chitosan, which influences the biomedical activity of these compounds, is strongly related to the source of chitin and the conditions of the chitin/chitosan production process. Apart from widely described key factors such as weight-averaged molecular weight (MW) and degree of N-acetylation (DA), other physicochemical parameters like polydispersity (MW/MN), crystallinity or the pattern of acetylation (PA) have to be taken into consideration. From the biological point of view, these parameters affect a very important factor—the solubility of chitin and chitosan in water and organic solvents. The physicochemical properties of chitosan solutions can be controlled by manipulating solution conditions (temperature, pH, ionic strength, concentration, solvent). The degree of substitution of the hydroxyl and the amino groups or the degree of quaternization of the amino groups also influence the mechanical and biological properties of chitosan samples. Finally, a considerable research effort has been directed towards developing safe and efficient chitin/chitosan-based products because many factors, like the size of nanoparticles, can determine the biomedical characteristics of medicinal products. The influence of these factors on the biomedical activity of chitin/chitosan-based products is presented in this report in more detail.
Keywords: chitin; chitosan; biomedical activity; structure-property-activity relationships; ionic strength; pH; chitosan source; degree of substitution; degree of quaternization

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kumirska, J.; Weinhold, M.X.; Thöming, J.; Stepnowski, P. Biomedical Activity of Chitin/Chitosan Based Materials—Influence of Physicochemical Properties Apart from Molecular Weight and Degree of N-Acetylation. Polymers 2011, 3, 1875-1901.

AMA Style

Kumirska J, Weinhold MX, Thöming J, Stepnowski P. Biomedical Activity of Chitin/Chitosan Based Materials—Influence of Physicochemical Properties Apart from Molecular Weight and Degree of N-Acetylation. Polymers. 2011; 3(4):1875-1901.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kumirska, Jolanta; Weinhold, Mirko X.; Thöming, Jorg; Stepnowski, Piotr. 2011. "Biomedical Activity of Chitin/Chitosan Based Materials—Influence of Physicochemical Properties Apart from Molecular Weight and Degree of N-Acetylation." Polymers 3, no. 4: 1875-1901.

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