Metabolic and Enzyme Engineering for the Biotechnological Production of Partially Acetylated Chitosans

Scope of the project

Today’s commercially available chitosans are produced chemically from chitin isolated from shrimp shell wastes.
+ They can be well defined concerning their degree of polymerisation and acetylation.
– Unfortunately, they are invariably characterised by a random pattern of acetylation (PA).

It has been recently hypothesised that the biological activities of chitosans, such as their antimicrobial, plant strengthening, immuno-stimulatory or wound healing activities, are greatly influenced by their pattern of acetylation (PA).

So far, no methods were available for the production of chitosans with defined non-random PA.
Therefore, the ChitoBioEngineering project aims at establishing biotechnological ways of producing fully defined, partially acetylated chitosan oligomers. This will be achieved through genetic, metabolic, and enzyme engineering.

Applications of chitosans with defined non-random PA

  • Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-tumor activity
  • Wound-healing properties
  • Immuno-enhancing effect on animal health
  • Induce various plant defense-related cellular responses
  • Anti-microbial properties against a wide spectrum of phytopathogens