ChitoProf

CHITOPROF is the service unit of our group, founded to support the translation of our fundamental research results on structure-function relationships of chitosans into chitosan-based products that are successful on the markets.

Chitosans – Versatile Functional Biopolymers

The successful transition from today’s oil-based to a future bio-based economy will in many areas rely on the knowledge-based use of functional biopolymers. Polysaccharides are among the most interesting of these biopolymers combining superior material properties with versatile functional activities. Of these, chitosans are perhaps the most promising ones. Chitosans are known to have antimicrobial activities, they have been shown to promote plant growth and development and to protect plants from disease, they can support scar-free wound healing and they can be used as nano-scale gene, drug, and vaccine carriers or in cell and tissue engineering. However, such potential life science applications of chitosans are often poorly reproducible, partly owing to batch-to-batch differences in many low quality chitosans available on the market, and partly owing to a lack of understanding basic molecular structure-function relationships and cellular modes of action of chitosans.

CHITOPROF – Chitosans, Chitin & Chitosan Modifying Enzymes, and Chitosan Analyses

Under the CHITOPROF label, we are offering well defined chitosans, recombinant and engineered chitin and chitosan modifying enzymes, and chemical as well as biological analyses of chitosans and their functionalities. These allow researchers in academia and industry to fill the knowledge gap concerning structure-function relationships of partially acetylated chitosan polymers and oligomers, and to develop reliable and efficient products and applications using these chitosans. Our portfolio is based on more than twenty years of research experience on chitosans and their bioactivities. Most of this research was done in European or international projects, typically initiated and coordinated by Prof. Moerschbacher, managed by Dr. El Gueddari, and performed by their research group in collaboration with academic and industrial partners throughout Europe and the world, such as the CARAPAX, NANOBIOSACCHARIDES, PolyModE, ChitoBioEngineering, CuChi-BCA, and Nano3Bio projects. Currently ongoing research continuously expands this portfolio. In collaboration with industry partners, we have contributed to the development of a number of chitosan-based products which have been introduced successfully into the international and European markets.

CHITOPROF is the service unit of our group, founded to support the translation of our fundamental research results on structure-function relationships of chitosans into chitosan-based products that are successful on the markets. To this end, we make our well-defined chitosans and chitin and chitosan modifying enzymes available in small quantities for research purposes. Larger quantities – from pilot to industry scale – can be made available on demand, in collaboration with our industrial partners. For non-commercial research purposes, the chitosans and enzymes are available for a nominal fee covering our own costs only, under signature of a Material Transfer Agreement. Costs can be waived if a joint research plan is signed beforehand, and results are discussed and published jointly. For commercial research purposes, the chitosans and enzymes are available under conventional market conditions. Favorable conditions can be granted upon signature of a research proposal aiming at the joint development of a chitosan-based or chitosan-containing product. We are also offering our expertise in chitosan analysis, under similar conditions as described above.

ChitoProf Chitins and Chitosans

Chitin and Chitosan Polymers

We can supply small quantities (1-100 mg) of chitosan polymers with narrowly defined degree of polymerization (DP, ca. 100 to 2500) and narrowly defined degree of acetylation (DA, ca. 0 to 70%). For prices and availability, please contact us. These chitosans are produced by partial chemical re-N-acetylation of high quality polyglucosamine produced by our industrial partner from chitin extracted from shrimp shells (alpha-chitin) or squid pen (beta-chitin). DP is determined using HP-SEC-RID-MALLS which also gives the polydispersity index (IP, typically <1.5) (using ASTM International method F2602-13), DA is determined using 1H-NMR analysis (using ASTM International method F2260-03) or enzymatic/mass spectrometric fingerprinting. These chitosan polymers have random patterns of acetylation (PA) as verified by 13C-NMR diad analysis.

Larger quantities of some of these chitosans can be made available through our industrial partners.

Chitin and Chitosan Oligomers

We can supply small quantities (1-50 mg) of fully acetylated chitin oligomers (GlcNAC dimer to hexamer) and fully deacetylated chitosan oligomers (GlcN dimer to decamer), as well as very small quantities (1-10 mg) of fully defined partially acetylated chitosan oligomers (paCOS, of some but not all patterns of acetylation). For prices and availability, please contact us. Chitosan oligomers are produced by partial depolymerisation of high quality polyglucosamine produced by our industrial partner from chitin extracted from shrimp shells (alpha-chitin) or squid pen (beta-chitin) followed by size exclusion chromatography. Chitin oligomers are produced either by chemical re-N-acetylation of the chitosan oligomers, or de novo by E. coli cell factories expressing a chitin synthase gene. paCOS are produced from chitin oligomers by regio-selective enzymatic deacetylation followed by chromatographic purification. All oligomers are characterized by mass spectrometry.

Larger quantities of some of these oligomers can be made available through our industrial partners.

ChitoProf Chitin and Chitosan Modifying Enzymes

We can supply small quantities of purified recombinant chitinases, chitosanases, and chitin de-N-acetylases with different well-defined subsite specificities and regio-selectivities which can be used e.g. for the production of well-defined chitin and chitosan oligomers. For further details, as well as for prices and availability, please contact us. The enzymes are produced in E. coli, some of the deacetylases as MBP fusion proteins, with an affinity tag for purification. Subsite specificities and regio-selectivities are characterized by mass spectrometric analyses of the products of enzymatic digestions of defined substrates.

Larger quantities of these enzymes can be made available through our industrial partners.

ChitoProf Chitin and Chitosan Binding Proteins

We can supply small quantities of chitin and chitosan specific “lectins” engineered from chitinases and chitosanases, by fusing either their substrate binding domains or their inactivated hydrolytic domains to different fluorescent tags such as GFP, e.g. for the cytochemical localization of chitin and chitosan. For further details, as well as for prices and availability, please contact us. The fusion proteins are produced in E. coli and carry additional tags for purification. Binding specificities are determined by dot blot analyses.

Larger quantities of these binding proteins can be made available through our industrial partners.

ChitoProf Chitosan Analyses

We offer to analyse chitosan oligomers and polymers using state of the art techniques. For chitosan polymers, the standard analysis comprises determination of the degree of polymerization (DP, MW) using HP-SEC-RID-MALLS which also gives the polydispersity index (IP) (according to ASTM International method F2602-13), and determination of the degree of acetylation (DA) using 1H-NMR (according to ASTM International method F2260-03). We can also determine the pattern of acetylation (PA) using 13C-NMR. Analysis of the DP and DA of chitin/chitosan oligomers is done by UHPLC-ELSD-ESI-MS. In case of pure oligomers or not too complex mixtures of not too large oligomers, we can also analyse the PA using UHPLC-ELSD-ESI-MSn.

For prices, please contact us.

Other analyses such as for viscosity or purity (e.g. % chitosan content, ash content, water content, heavy metals, proteins) can be performed in collaboration with partners.