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Original Article

Abstract:
Shrimp shells are a raw material rich in chitin, a precursor of chitosan biopolymer. The variables of processing (demineralization, deproteination and deacetylation) can be manipulated to determine the main characteristics of chitosan, the degree of deacetylation (DD), and average molar mass. This study evaluated the influence of one of the unit operations of shrimp shell physical processing, the milling, on the final product characteristic, chitosan. After different milling conditions, the raw material was subjected to standard chemical processing for chitin extraction, followed by deacetylation to obtain chitosan, which is characterized by 1H NMR, SEM, XRD, N2 physisorption (BET) and viscometry. The results indicated that the milling time of the raw material can be manipulated to increase the material depolymerization, significantly influencing the molecular weight reduction of chitosan a desirable feature for many applications of this biopolymer, and usually obtained by complex chemical and enzymatic methods.
Keywords:
biopolymers, chitosan, degree of polymerization (DP), viscosity, particle size distribution.


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