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Chitosan differs from chitin in that it has free amino groups (figure 1) and is obtained by deacetylizing chitin. At a minimum deacetylization level of 70% (=amount of free amino groups in the polymer) it is considered to be chitosan. The monomer of chitosan is D-amino glucose.

Chemical name: (1,4)-2-Amino-2-desoxy- beta-D-glucan
Empirical formula: (C6H11NO4)n
CAS: 9012-76-4

chitosan chemie

Manufacturing process

During the deacetylization process, chitin undergoes a treatment with lye to divide the acetyl groups from the polymer, resulting in chitosan. This has a variation of properties depending on the degree of deacetylization and chain length.

  • soluble in nearly all diluted acids
  • insoluble in sulfuric acid and water
  • not thermo-elastic, decomposes at 280° C
  • pKa 6.3

Properties of cationic polymer chitosan include

  • high charge carrier density
  • biodegradable, non-toxic
  • bacteriostatic, fungistatic
  • film and fiber forming, cross-linking
  • immobilization of living organisms
  • anti-inflammatory, heals wounds
  • stimulation of immune system and metabolism
  • deodorizing
  • bonding ability to proteins, heavy metals and aerosols


  • Biodegradable through naturally occurring enzymes

Congress and fairs

Meet us in person 2020:

  • Asia Pacific Chitin and Chitosan Symposium, 21 - 24 June 2020, Jeju-si, South Korea
  • EUCHIS, 6 - 10 September 2020 Kazan, Russia
  • CPHI 13 - 15 October 2020, Fiera Milano, Italy
  • Medica 16 - 19 November 2020, Düsseldorf, Germany

To arrange an appointment please contact Katja Richter via sales(at)


  • Heppe Medical Chitosan GmbH
    Heinrich-Damerow-Strasse 1
    06120 Halle (Saale)
  • Tel.: +49 (0) 345 27 996 300
    Fax: +49 (0) 345 27 996 378
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