Dr. Wahied Khawar Balwan
Chitosan has been emerged as a potential candidate among other eco-friendly natural occurring compound now days.It can be used in agriculture as a seed treatment and biopesticide, helping plants to fight off molds & other fungal infections as well as to control the obesity and having wound healing ability.Chitosan has been proven one of the best edible and eco-friendly coatings for different types of foods because of its peculiar characteristics.
Commercial chitosan is derived from the shells of shrimp and other sea crustaceans, including Pandalus borealis byde-acetylation of chitin, which is the structural element in the exoskeleton of crustaceans e.g. crabs, shrimp and cell walls of some peculiar fungi.
AGRICULTURAL AND HORTICULTURAL USE
In agriculture, chitosan is typically used as a natural seed treatment and bio-fertilizers, and as an eco-friendly bio pesticide substance that enhance the ability of plants to protect themselves against mold&fungal infections. Chitosan is biodegradable product and hence its product are allowed for use outdoors and indoors on plants and crops grown by the end user consumers. As a biopesticides Chitosan elicits natural innate defense responses within plant to resist insects, pathogens, and soil-borne diseases when applied to the soil2 .Chitosan salt received the first ever bio-pesticide label from the EPA, then followed by other intellectual property applications. Chitosan act as a catalysts and increases photosynthesis rate, promotes plant growth, stimulates nutrient uptake and boosts overall rate of germination.
PROTECTION FROM MOLD & FUNGAL INFECTION
Chitosan can also be used primarily as a natural seed treatment and plant growth enhancer, since it is considered an ecologically friendly biopesticide substance that boosts the innate ability of plants to protect themselves against mold and fungal infections.Chitosan applications in plants and crops are regulated by the EPA and USDA National Organic Program, which regulates its use on certified farms and crops as using organic production system. EPA-approved, biodegradable CS products are allowed for use outdoors and indoors on plants and crops both grown commercially or home grown. Microscopic observations indicate that chitosan had a direct effect on the morphology of chitosan treated microorganisms reflecting its fungi-static or fungicidal potential. In addition to a direct antimicrobial activity, chitosan induces a series of host defense reactions related to the enzymatic activities of the host organism.As a nontoxic biodegradable material, as well as an elicitor, chitosan has the potential to become a new class of plant protectant and assisting towards the goal of sustainable agriculture. Chitosan has been reported to activate more than 20 pathogenesis genes like defensis, lignins, ARnase, phytoalexins, chitinase and â-gluconase and plant metabolism- related genes.Chitosan has a significant effect on the growth and development of various plants like rice, coffee, wheats& strawberries.
The potential use of chitosan nanoparticles as carriers has paved way for development of wide variety of colloidal delivery vehicles. It can alsodeliver drugs or macromolecules by controlled release to a target site.Several studies have been reported regarding the ability of chitosan nanoparticles to improve the bioavailability of drugs, modifying its pharmacokinetics and protecting the encapsulated drugs.Apart from being used as an oral delivery carrier, chitosan can also be applied to other mucous membrane systems like nasal routes and pulmonary to deliver peptides and proteins.
WOUND HEALING ABILITY
Several studies have been reported on the use of chitosan as a wound-healing accelerator, it can beneficially influence every different stage of wound healing. Chitosan and its derivatives could accelerate wound healing by enhancing the functions of inflammatory cells, such as polymorph nuclear leukocytes, macrophages, and fibroblasts. The wound-healing effects of chitosan could be affected by the factors of molecular weight, deacetylation degree as well as the state of chitosan.
DIETARY SUPPLEMENT CHITOSAN ON BLOOD PRESSURE AND WEIGHT LOSS
Chitosan is a popular dietary fiber often used to reduce fat absorption and to prevent obesity. However, its effects on blood pressure have not been fully proved. Dietary chitosan may help reduce the body weight and can lower blood lipids in both animal and human trials due to its chemical structure. There is an urgent need to further scientific investigation to explore the benefits of chitosan as dietary fiber consumption to avoid the mental disease due to over burden of hypertension. This is emergent area of research that warrants in present scenario. The study revealed that chitosan could prevent the development of hypertension in hypertensive rats6 .The current evidence suggests that daily chitosan consumption significantly decreases diastolic blood pressure in higher-dosage (2.4 g/ day) and shorter-term (12 weeks) interventions, while chitosan has no significant effects on systolic blood pressure. However, these results are inconclusive and should be interpreted cautiously. Study revealed that the cholesterollowering properties of chitosan are due to the hydrophobic bonds it forms with cholesterol and other sterols, interfering with the emulsification process. The large polymer compounds resulting from this hydrophobic bonding are then weakly digested and help to prevent obesity.
FILTRATION & WASTE WATER TREATMENT
Chitosan can be used in hydrology asecofriendly biological adsorbents for removal of heavy metalswithout negative environmental impacts. Chitosan agglomerate the fine suspension or sediment particles to bind together, and is subsequently also removes heavy metals, coloring matters, and fatty oils from the water. As an additive in water filtration, chitosan adsorbs suspended particles and upon sand filtration removes up to 99% of turbidity.
BIODEGRADABLE ANTIMICROBIAL FOOD PACKAGING
Microbial contamination of food products accelerates the deterioration process and increases the risk of foodborne illness caused by potentially life-threatening pathogens. Ordinarily, food contamination originates superficially, requiring surface treatment and packaging as crucial factors to assure food quality and safety. Biodegradable chitosan films have a great potential forpreserving various food items, retaining their original shape, flavors and restrict their weight loss due to dehydration. In addition, composite biodegradable films containing chitosan and antimicrobial agents are in development as safe alternatives to preserve food products. The antimicrobial activity may be enhanced significantly by the incorporation of clove oil/âcyclodextrin in chitosan film against some deadly bacteria and viruses such as Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis, Salmonella Typhimurium, Escherichia coli, and Candida albicans.
Chitosan has emerged as a promising biomaterial for various industrial applications including food, pharma, paint, cosmetic, and textile industries, due to their natural origin, structural similarity, biocompatibility, biodegradability, antifungal, low toxicity, antimicrobial, and antifouling activities. It can be used to prevent the obesity and having wound healing ability. Biopolymer-based edible films and coatings play a significant roleto protect the fresh fruits and vegetables from damages or deteriorations during storage after harvesting. Advance technology enabling the preparation of multifunctional chitosan-based coatings or films could be promising to be used as packaging materials for food applications. Chitosan-based nano compositeshave been used for removing dyes from textile wastewater,corrosion inhibitors as well as in surface coating (paint industries) for corrosion protection.
‘Any Error in this manuscript is silent testimony of the fact that it was a Human Effort’
Dr. Wahied Khawar Balwan
Senior Assistant Professor& Head (Zoology)
Govt. Degree College Kilhotran
Jammu and Kashmir
E-mail: [email protected]