Research Article Open Access

Unconventional Approach for Demineralization of Deproteinized Crustacean Shells for Chitin Production

N.S. Mahmoud1, A.E. Ghaly1 and F. Arab1
  • 1 Dalhousie University Halifax, Canada


Chitin is a versatile environmentally friendly modern material. It has a wide range of applications in areas such as water treatment, pulp and paper, biomedical devices and therapies, cosmetics, membrane technology and biotechnology and food applications. Crustacean waste is the most important chitin source for commercial use. Demineralization is an important step in the chitin purification process from crustacean waste. The conventional method of demineralization includes the use of strong acid (commonly HCl) that harms the physiochemical properties of chitin, results in a harmful effluent wastewater and increases the cost of chitin purification process. The current study proposes the use of organic acids (lactic and acetic) produced by cheese whey fermentation to demineralize microbially deproteinized shrimp shells. The effects of acid type, demineralization condition, retention time and shells to acid ratio were investigated. The study showed that the effectiveness of using lactic and/or acetic acids for demineralization of shrimp shells was comparable to that of using hydrochloric acid. Using organic acids for demineralization is a promising concept, since organic acids are less harmful to the environment, can preserve the characteristics of the purified chitin and can be produced from low cost biomass such as cheese whey. In addition, the resulted organic salts from the demineralization process can be used as a food preservative and/or an environmentally friendly de-icing/anti-icing agents.

American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Volume 3 No. 1, 2007, 1-9


Published On: 31 March 2007

How to Cite: Mahmoud, N., Ghaly, A. & Arab, F. (2007). Unconventional Approach for Demineralization of Deproteinized Crustacean Shells for Chitin Production. American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 3(1), 1-9.

  • 137 Citations



  • Crustacean waste
  • chitin
  • demineralization
  • organic acids
  • food preservatives