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Enzyme Research
Volume 2015, Article ID 791907, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/791907
Review Article

Chitinases from Bacteria to Human: Properties, Applications, and Future Perspectives

Faculty of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, South Asian University, New Delhi 110021, India

Received 28 July 2015; Revised 29 October 2015; Accepted 1 November 2015

Academic Editor: Hartmut Kuhn

Copyright © 2015 Abhishek Singh Rathore and Rinkoo D. Gupta. 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 the second most plenteous polysaccharide in nature after cellulose, present in cell walls of several fungi, exoskeletons of insects, and crustacean shells. Chitin does not accumulate in the environment due to presence of bacterial chitinases, despite its abundance. These enzymes are able to degrade chitin present in the cell walls of fungi as well as the exoskeletons of insect. They have shown being the potential agents for biological control of the plant diseases caused by various pathogenic fungi and insect pests and thus can be used as an alternative to chemical pesticides. There has been steady increase in demand of chitin derivatives, obtained by action of chitinases on chitin polymer for various industrial, clinical, and pharmaceutical purposes. Hence, this review focuses on properties and applications of chitinases starting from bacteria, followed by fungi, insects, plants, and vertebrates. Designing of chitinase by applying directed laboratory evolution and rational approaches for improved catalytic activity for cost-effective field applications has also been explored.