DescriptionOff-white flakes.
  1. By IR – the sample should be concordant with that of the Working Standard
  2. Nitrogen: Gives characteristic reactions of amino nitrogen
Loss on dryingNot more than 7.0 %
Assay by nitrogen estimationNot less than 95.0 % (on dried basis)
Particle size100% passing 5 mm mesh
Residue on ignitionNot more than 5%
Protein contentNot more than 2%



Most recent studies point out that chitin is a good inducer for defense mechanisms in plants. It was recently tested as a fertilizer that can help plants develop healthy immune responses, and have a much better yield and life expectancy. The EPA regulates chitin for agricultural use within the USA. Chitosan is derived from chitin, which is used as a biocontrol elicitor in agriculture and horticulture.


Chitin is used industrially in many processes. It is used as an additive to thicken and stabilize foods and pharmaceuticals. It also acts as a binder in dyes, fabrics, and adhesives. Industrial separation membranes and ion-exchange resins can be made from chitin. Processes to size and strengthen paper employ chitin.


Chitin’s properties as a flexible and strong material make it favorable as surgical thread. Its biodegradibility means it wears away with time as the wound heals. Moreover, chitin has some unusual properties that accelerate healing of wounds in humans.

Occupations associated with high environmental chitin levels, such as shellfish processors, are prone to high incidences of asthma. Recent studies have suggested that chitin may play a role in a possible pathway in human allergic disease. Specifically, mice treated with chitin develop an allergic response, characterized by a build-up of interleukin-4 expressing innate immune cells. In these treated mice, additional treatment with a chitinase enzyme abolishes the response.