Biotechnological Separation of Chitin from Shrimp Shell Waste

Technology Overview

This green technology describes the biotechnological production of chitin and chitosan from shrimp shell waste. Shrimp shells harbor several useful molecules like proteins, calcium carbonate, chitin and carotenoids. Unlike other forms of biomass, chitin and chitosan (deacetylated chitin) contains nitrogen which are excellent resources for the production of a series of valuable nitrogen-containing chemicals. Current methods for separation of these useful molecules from shrimp shell waste employ harsh conditions which are destructive, wasteful, expensive and hazardous to the environment. A sustainable biological fractionation method that avoids corrosive or hazardous reagents and minimizes waste is needed to establish profitable and sustainable shell refinery.

Technology Features & Specifications

This technology consists of a series of proprietary steps to prepare and functionalize the chitin from sea food waste.

The chitin and chitosan extracted are applicable in the following industries:


  • Used as bioactive material – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, immune stimulating agent
  • Drug delivery agent


  • Production of nitrogen containing chemicals without using fossil fuels
  • Direct synthesis of furans and nitrogen containing sugars

Potential Applications

The products extracted from the biotechnological refinery of shrimp shell waste can be used for:

  • Calcium carbonate - Nutraceutical, agricultural, construction and paper industries
  • Chitin and Chitosan - Nitrogen-rich chemicals for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, antimicrobial chitin polymer fibers for wound dressings, textiles water treatment, household cleansers, soaps
  • Protein - Fertilizers and animal feed

Market Trends and Opportunities

Research collaboration is available with the use of this technology to extract products from shrimp shell waste. The global market for Chitin and Chitosan Derivatives market is forecasted to reach 155.5 thousand metric tons by 2022. (Source: Global Industry Analysts, Inc)

Customer Benefits

The benefits from using this biological fractionation method includes

  • Eco-friendly approach for production of chitin and chitosan from food waste
  • High quality chitin and chitosan polymer with high molecular weight 
  • Several other value added by-products can be produced

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