chitin


chitin

White, horny substance found in the external skeleton of crabs, lobsters, and many insects; in internal structures of some other invertebrates; and in some fungi, algae, and yeasts. It is a polysaccharide, the monomer unit being glucosamine. It is used industrially in purifying wastewater, thickening and stabilizing foods and pharmaceuticals, and sizing and strengthening paper, and as a wound-healing agent, an ion-exchange resin, a membrane for industrial separations, and a binder for dyes, fabrics, and adhesives.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on chitin, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up chitin? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.