This review treats of the possible use interest of chitin, chitosan and derivatives in enology. Chitosan and chitin are polysaccharide polymers containing more than 5 000 glucosamine and acetylglucosamine units, respectively, and their molecular weights are over one million Daltons. Chitin is found in fungi, arthropods and marine invertebrates. Commercially, chitin is derived from the exoskeletons of crustaceans (shrimp, crab and other shellfish). Chitosan is obtained from chitin by a deacetylation process. An alternative can be the obtention of chitin and chitosane derivatives from fungi source and has been developed by Kitozyme Firm.
Chitin, the polysaccharide polymer from which chitosan is derived, is a cellulose-like polymer consisting mainly of unbranched chains of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. Deacetylated chitin, or chitosan, is comprised of chains of D-glucosamine. When ingested, chitosan can be considered as a dietary fiber.
The use of chitin, chitosan and derivatives should be favorable for differents aspects of wine production, in particular for : stabilization, clarification, deacidification, removal of heavy metals (lead, cadmium) or major metals (iron , copper), elimination of ochratoxin A, enzymes and pesticides.
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