Chitin has been investigated in the context of finding new excipients suitable for direct compression, when subjected to roller compaction. Ball milling was concurrently carried out to compare effects from different energy or stress-inducing techniques. Samples of chitin powders (raw, processed, dried and humidified) were compared for variations in morphology, X-ray diffraction patterns, densities, FT-IR, flowability, compressibility and compactibility. Results confirmed the suitability of roller compaction to convert the fluffy powder of raw chitin to a bulky material with improved flow. X-ray powder diffraction studies showed that, in contrast to the high decrease in crystallinity upon ball milling, roller compaction manifested a slight deformation in the crystal lattice. Moreover, the new excipient showed high resistance to compression, due to the high compactibility of the granules formed. This was correlated to the significant extent of plastic deformation compared to the raw and ball milled forms of chitin. On the other hand, drying and humidification of raw and processed materials presented no added value to the compressibility and compactibility of the directly compressed excipient. Finally, compacted chitin showed direct compression similarity with microcrystalline cellulose when formulated with metronidazole (200 mg) without affecting the immediate drug release action of the drug.
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