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Formation of low molecular weight oligomers from chitin and chitosan stimulated by plasma-assisted processes

Vasilieva, T., Sigarev, A., Kosyakov, D., Ul’yanovskii, N., Anikeenko, E., Chuhchin, D., Ladesov, A., Hein, Aung Myat, Miasnikov, V.
Carbohydrate polymers 2017 v.163 pp. 54-61
active oxygen species, chitin, chitooligosaccharides, chitosan, fungi, growth retardation, hydrolysis, minimum inhibitory concentration, molecular weight, polymers, powders, temperature
The controlled degradation of solid powders of chitin and chitosan stimulated by electron-beam plasma (EBP) was experimentally studied. Crab shell chitin and chitosan were used as original substances. The non-equilibrium low temperature EBP was generated by injecting an electron beam into a gaseous medium. Chitooligosaccharides with Mw=800–2000Da and polydispersion 1.5–2.5 were formed due to the EBP-treatment of chitin and chitosan. The β-1,4 glycosidic bounds in original polymers degrade under the action of active oxygen species produced in the EBP. Low molecular weight products of chitosan inhibited the growth of various yeast-like and filamentous fungi at minimum inhibitory concentration 500mcg/ml. By optimizing the treatment conditions and using special techniques of reaction volume formation the 95% yield of chitooligosaccharides was obtained after 2min whereas the conventional chemical hydrolysis usually takes several days. The EBP-stimulated hydrolysis is promising for effective polysaccharides degradation and can be competitive with traditional technologies.