Increasing regulation, not only in the United States but also in most foreign countries, will require more economical and ecological treatment methods to improve air and water quality. Thus, AgraTech stands ready to satisfy the demand for effective wastewater treatment products by marketing chitosan as a natural polymer coagulant. Firms engaged in this enterprise have indicated intentions to purchase chitosan from KYTOSAN USA. Chitosan has been used for many years in Asian countries as the preferred coagulant for clarification of waste streams because it is a natural biodegradable polymer. The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO, www.aafco.org) allows chitosan to be used to recover food wastes suitable for animal feed. The FDA has licensed the use of chitosan in flocculation of protein during the water treatment process. Chitosan separates protein from water, a task normally performed by synthetic resins.
North America, Western Europe and Japan account for approximately 90% of the worldwide water treatment chemicals market. Coagulants and flocculants remove suspended matter from water and are essential for the treatment of drinking water, industrial process water and waste. Flocculants are added after the primary coagulant is added, causing the destabilized colloidal particles to clump together and settle out more rapidly.
Research is being conducted using chitosan as a major agent to clean-up contaminated underground waste sites. Initial results are promising. In many regions of the US, the public is becoming increasingly concerned about exposure to the hazardous chemicals underneath their communities. Chitosan may have a considerable role to play at many of these sites as a solution to this problem. The potential for chitosan sales here is considerable.
Removal of metal Ions - Chitosan, being a natural cationic polymer, has metal recovering properties. This property enables it to extract copper and other metals from contaminated water. The method is also the most economical for copper extraction from contaminated water and bears a direct relationship between the quantity of chitosan added and copper extracted.
Coagulant and Water Purification - Chitosan has the property to bind itself to a variety of organic contaminants, minerals, metals and oils. The resultant water is clearer, cleaner with less staining and scaling. Chitosan aids in the filtering process by trapping more dirt and debris.
Treatment of Industrial Waste - Apart from purifying water, chitosan is used to treat industrial wastewater. The compound aids in freeing water from metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium, and removes toxic chemicals such as dyes, tannins and PCB's.
As a Filtration Agent for Pools and Spas - HaloSource, a U.S. Company, produces chitosan in a patented formula for use in pools and spas under the name 'SeaKlear' which finds application in larger pools as an all-in-one replacement to the clarifiers, filter aids, stain & scale magnets, and enzymes.
Nuclear Wastewater Treatment - Contaminated water discharged by nuclear plants is treated with small beads made of chitosan, which soaks up metals such as cadmium, which is used in the production of nuclear fuels.
Detoxification - Chitosan has been in use as a detoxifying agent for three decades. Chitosan spread on water absorbs bio hazardous substances such as grease, oils, heavy metals and other potentially toxic products. A scum formed on water can be effectively removed with ease.
Filtration in Lab Decolorization Module – Chitin, a chemical produced as the precursor to chitosan, acts as a filtering agent in lab decolorization module. Using bulk chitin is an inexpensive way of retrieving color from wastewater. Powdered chitin removes color from wastewater discharges in textile dyeing operations. A minute volume of powdered chitin decolorizes much waste, absorbing 20% of its weight in dye. Dye-burdened chitin powder can be recycled for use in commercial fuel logs or packaging materials.
Chitin and chitosan are widely used in agrochemicals. The biopolymers are put to a wide range of uses such as soil conditioning, agricultural chemicals and pesticides.
Chitin is poised to find its route into agrochemical formulations. Japan's efforts are headed towards easy-to-handle agrochemical formulations. The country already uses a considerable proportion of chitin and chitosan in farming applications. Insecticides containing chitin-synthesis inhibitors and insect growth regulators are more environmentally friendly. Such products do not interfere with the biological metabolism of animals and humans.
In Formulation of Pesticides - Chitosan is used in making pesticides used for crop protection. Chitosan as an ingredient in pesticides protects soil from termite infestation. Chitosan constitutes an important composition of pesticide under the brand 'Clandosan' and acts against nematodes that cause huge damage to crops. The EPA has licensed the Colombian based Igene Biotechnology Inc. to market Clandosan.
Carrier of Yeast Antagonists - Agricultural Research Service is working on chitosan to develop it as a carrier of yeast antagonists. Natural substances are found to promote latent anti-fungus defenses found in fruits.
Increase Crop Yield - Chitosan, to a certain degree, is found to stimulate the immune system of plants when coated on seeds and hence increases crop yield. This is due to its ability to induce a protective response in the germinating plant.
Chitosan is currently used in a variety of creams and lotions as a moisturizing agent and in a variety of shampoos and hair conditioning products. Chitosan is used to take advantage of its cationic nature to allow adherence to skin and hair improving texture.
Food/Functional Food Additives - Chitosan has recently received GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status from the United States Food and Drug Administration. GRAS status is expected to greatly accelerate the use of chitosan as a functional food additive in health foods. GRAS status of chitosan will also stimulate the use of chitin, the precursor of chitosan, derived from shellfish byproducts.
Nutraceuticals/Healthcare - Chitosan’s ability to bind fats and lipids has led to the oral use of Chitosan to effectively lower blood cholesterol levels. Several combinations of chitosan, in tablet, capsule, and liquid forms, are commercially available as dietary supplements.
Glucosamine - The building-block of chitosan, but commercially obtained from chitin, is the No. 1 dietary supplement sold in the US.
Medical Applications - Chitosan is targeted in a number of biomedical applications including drug delivery. There are several patented applications where chitosan is used to deliver drugs in a more controlled fashion. These applications will require a very high purity product made under strict FDA guidelines.
HemCon, Inc., a company in Portland, Oregon, has developed a bandage utilizing chitosan as a clotting agent. The positive charge carried by chitosan binds with the negative charge on the surface of red blood cells, creating a clot. An important advantage that chitosan has over other clotting agents, such as human clotting proteins called fibrin, is that it is non-allergenic. Furthermore, because chitosan creates its own clot independent from the body’s natural clotting agents, the bandage will work on those with hemophilia. The bandage has been designed for use in emergency medical applications as well as stabilization of battlefield injuries.
In gel/paste form, chitosan acts as a drug delivery vehicle, spermicide, and an immobilization or encapsulation agent. In bead form, it immobilizes enzymes/cells and separates proteins.
•In Product Separation and Recovery •In Affinity Chromatography and as an Absorbent •In Enhancing Foaming Properties of Proteins •In Paper Formation