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Chitin from lobster shell shows great healing and bio-stimulant properties

This release is also available in Spanish.

[University of Havana] Chitin is a polymer very common in nature as part of animals and plants physical structures. Only cellulose is more abundant than chitin, which makes this compound a highly important renewable resource that can easily be found in arthropods, insects, arachnids, molluscs, fungus and algae.

The fishing industry in Cuba generates great amounts of lobster waste, a pollutant rich in proteins and chitin, states Professor Carlos Andrs Peniche Covas, head of the Biopolymers Research Group, from the Biomaterials Centre of the University of Havana. This group is doing research into chitin and chitosan extraction from such waste, in collaboration with the Spanish Centre for Scientific Research (CSIC), the Complutense University in Madrid (Spain) and the Mexican Research Centre for Food and Development.

Prof. Peniche points out that "this work allows for the first accurate and comprehensive results of a university study on chitin and chitosan. The study starts at the extraction of these compounds from polluting waste of the Cuban fishing industry and it goes on to cover these products characterisation through traditional techniques and some more innovative ones, the study of their properties, the development of new by-products and the testing of their practical applications in areas useful for this Caribbean country, such as agriculture and biomedicine."

Use in medicine

These researchers work has led to the development of a procedure to obtain surgical materials with great healing and antiseptic properties. "This procedure involves using chitosan to cover surgical threads and lint, into which antibiotics are injected. By doing this, we obtain medical materials with both antimicrobial and healing properties and, as they are covered in a natural polymer, with a hi
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Contact: Professor Carlos Andrs Peniche Covas
peniche@reduniv.edu.cu
Universidad de Granada
13-Jul-2007


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