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Pucci-Tase - New deacetylase for the industrial production of high-quality chitosan

22.09.2009
Chitosan has a broad spectrum of industrial applications ranging from contact lenses and matrices for tissue engineering to immobilisation membranes for enzymes and cells in biotechnological processes, feed additives and many others.

Production of high-quality chitosan from chitin requires a process that yields a product with defined degree of polymerisation and deacetylation. Chemical processes lead to such high-quality chitosan only after lengthy purification processes, which entail significant loss of product. A biological process can be much more specific. The invention discloses a gene encoding for a protein, which offers a new kind of deacetylase activity. This new chitin-deacetylase from Puccinia graminis can be applied to oligo and polymers of N-acetyl-glucosamin (GlcNAc).

Activity can be influenced by choice of reaction parameters such as pH over a broad range, temperatures between 5° and 60°C as well as others. The reaction conditions may also be designed to reverse the process, i.e. resulting in acetylation of chitosan.

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