Depolymerization of HMW into a predicted LMW chitosan and determination of the degree of deacetylation to guarantee its quality for research use.(2018)
Low molecular weight chitosan (LMWC) is a semi synthetic biopolymer with potential uses as a pharmaceutical excipient. However, made-to-specification, consistent and reliable grades of pure LMWC are scarce. Credible and competent preparation and characterization methods are therefore of utmost importance to specialized laboratories. Although acid hydrolysis of chitosan has been reported, existing protocols produce oligomer mixtures of high polydispersity and may not predict the resultant molecular weights. This study aimed to optimize a mild acid-catalyzed depolymerization of high molecular weight chitosan (HMWC) of 100 kDa and 93% degree of deacetylation, as well as, develop a standardized protocol that would enable predetermination of the resultant molecular weight and re-acetylation within the ranges of 1.4-28.1 kDa and 55.1- 81.1%, respectively. Molecular weight measurements were extracted and verified based on dynamic viscosity and dynamic light scattering. The degree of deacetylation was measured by H1 NMR. These protocols were found to be efficient, time- and cost-effective, reproducible, and could produce LMWC with the desired specifications, quality and yield for research purposes.

KEYWORDS: Low molecular weight chitosan, LMWC, depolymerization, acid-catalyzed hydrolysis, acetylation, degree of deacetylation, dda, excipients
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