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Preparation and Biomedical Applications of Chitin and Chitosan Nanofibers

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Chitin (β-(1-4)-poly-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine) is widely distributed in nature and is the second most abundant polysaccharide after cellulose. Chitin occurs in nature as ordered macrofibrils. It is the major structural component in the exoskeleton of crab and shrimp shells and the cell wall of fungi and yeast. As chitin is not readily dissolved in common solvents, it is often converted to its more deacetylated derivative, chitosan. Chitin, chitosan, and its derivatives are widely used in tissue engineering, wound healing, and as functional foods. Recently, easy methods for the preparation of chitin and chitosan nanofibers have been developed, and studies on biomedical applications of chitin and chitosan nanofibers are ongoing. Chitin and chitosan nanofibers are considered to have great potential for various biomedical applications, because they have several useful properties such as high specific surface area and high porosity. This review summarizes methods for the preparation of chitin and chitosan nanofibers. Further, biomedical applications of chitin and chitosan nanofibers in (i) tissue engineering, (ii) wound dressing, (iii) cosmetic and skin health, (iv) stem cell technology, (v) anti-cancer treatments and drug delivery, (vi) anti-inflammatory treatments, and (vii) obesity treatment are summarized. Many studies indicate that chitin and chitosan nanofibers are suitable materials for various biomedical applications.
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Keywords: BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS; CHITIN; CHITOSAN; COSMETICS; DRUG DELIVERY; NANOFIBERS; OBESITY; STEM CELLS; TISSUE ENGINEERING

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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