Biotechnological production of chitosan
The identification of residue streams with a chitin content of more than 30 percent, based on analysis methods developed specifically for this purpose, laid the foundation for the establishment of polysaccharide purification processes. Together with its partners, the Fraunhofer IGB has identified and produced 15 chitin-degrading enzymes that pave the way for a purely biotechnological value-added chain for chitosan production. Insect chitosan showed analogous properties to crab chitosan in physicochemical studies and is therefore suitable for use as a sizing agent. In addition to the application-technological characterization, the unmodified chitosan has already been tested for textile coating and first investigations regarding the hydrophobic modification of the chitosan have been successfully completed.
Insect-based chitosan has established itself as a local alternative to crab-based chitosan in many ways. Based on these results, a follow-up project for the application of hydrophobicized chitosan for textile coating has already been initiated. In addition, research activities are to be intensified in cooperation with protein producers and extended to other residual material streams.