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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 654913, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/654913
Review Article

Chitooligosaccharide and Its Derivatives: Preparation and Biological Applications

1Department of Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Chungju 380-701, Republic of Korea
2Department of Applied Life Science, Konkuk University, Chungju 380-701, Republic of Korea
3Specialized Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology, Department of Marine Bioconvergence Science, Busan 608-737, Republic of Korea
4School of Marine Biomedical Sciences, Jeju National University, Jeju 690-756, Republic of Korea
5Department of Marine Bio-Food Sciences, Chonnam National University, Yeosu 550-749, Republic of Korea
6Division of Food and Nutrition, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 550-757, Republic of Korea
7Nokyong Research Center, Konkuk University, Chungju 380-701, Republic of Korea

Received 3 January 2014; Accepted 22 January 2014; Published 3 March 2014

Academic Editor: Yoshihiko Hayashi

Copyright © 2014 Gaurav Lodhi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Chitin is a natural polysaccharide of major importance. This biopolymer is synthesized by an enormous number of living organisms; considering the amount of chitin produced annually in the world, it is the most abundant polymer after cellulose. The most important derivative of chitin is chitosan, obtained by partial deacetylation of chitin under alkaline conditions or by enzymatic hydrolysis. Chitin and chitosan are known to have important functional activities but poor solubility makes them difficult to use in food and biomedicinal applications. Chitooligosaccharides (COS) are the degraded products of chitosan or chitin prepared by enzymatic or chemical hydrolysis of chitosan. The greater solubility and low viscosity of COS have attracted the interest of many researchers to utilize COS and their derivatives for various biomedical applications. In light of the recent interest in the biomedical applications of chitin, chitosan, and their derivatives, this review focuses on the preparation and biological activities of chitin, chitosan, COS, and their derivatives.