Chitosan--New Biopolymer For Cosmetics & Drugs
Chitosan was first described in the literature as early as the beginning of the last century, and for decades extensive work has been done in cosmetic and in pharmaceutical laboratories to find ways of utilizing the unique properties of this natural polymer. So the title of this article may seem a trifle misleading, except when one considers that, despite all the investigations into chitin, chitosan and their derivatives, manufacture has been limited and so have uses in commercial products. Actually, industrial production of chitosan began in Japan about 1970, and currently commercial quantities are manufactured in the U.S. and production development is being done in several other countries.
Since it is a derivative of chitin, next to cellulose the world's most plentiful biopolymer, the raw material situation for chitosan couldn't be better. Amounts available from the fisheries of shrimp and crabs alone probably exceed 40,000 tons.
A variety of applications have been proposed and tested with chitosan, and listed subsequently are several of the more important:
1. Immobilize Enzymes/Living Cells (gel immobilization matrix, increase stability, compatibility with phosphates.
2. Personal Care Products
Hair Care (substantive to hair and skin).
Skin Care (form clear protective coating, moisture retention)
Viscosifier (build viscosity in amphoteric/nonionic shampoos)
Cosmetics (viscosity building, coating, moisture retention, nonallergenic)
Lower Cholesterol (anticholesteric)
Wound Care (accelerate wound healing)
Eye Bandages …