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Homogeneous modification of chitin and chitosan based on alkali/urea soluble system and their applications in biomedical engineering

Shichao Bi, Di Qin, Shipeng Yuan, Xiaojie Cheng, Xiguang Chen
Published: 14 October 2021

Abstract: Resource shortage and environmental degradation have forced people to pay attention to the development and application of environmentally friendly production method. Alkali/urea is a green water-based solvent for chitin and chitosan, and has been widely used in structural analysis and functional material preparation in recent years. This review systematically summarizes the discovery, improvement and promotion of alkali-soluble systems and expounds its dissolution mechanism for chitin and chitosan in first section. As the core content, we focused on the application of alkali/urea dissolution systems such as NaOH/urea, KOH/urea and KOH/LiOH/urea in the homogeneous chemical modification of chitin and chitosan. The dissolved chitosan and chitin ensure the uniformity and high efficiency of the chemical modification reaction and avoid the participation of high temperature, organic dispersant, alkali swelling and other auxiliary reaction conditions. Moreover, the prepared alkylation, quaternization, carboxylation, acrylamidation derivatives exhibits novel structures and functional characteristics and have been applied in antibacterial, tissue engineering repair, drug delivery, 3D cell culture, bioimaging, wastewater remediation and other fields. We envision that this review will provide a new inspiration and ideas for the improvement of the alkali/urea dissolution system and its application in other fields.
Keywords: structural / cell culture / functional / chitin and chitosan / modification / engineering / alkali/urea

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