Food, Pharmaceuticals | Determination of the Molar Mass as Quality Control Parameter of Chitosan

The wide scale of applications of this natural polymer ranges from agriculture, food industry to high-end pharmaceutical and medical products. For all of them the molar mass is a significant parameter. The Lovis 2000 M/ME microviscometer combines precise and fast viscosity measurements for subsequent molar mass calculations.

Chitosan is an amino sugar-containing polysaccharide obtained from crab and shrimp shells. Applications of the polysaccharide require knowledge of its main physicochemical properties, especially molar mass, molecular weight distribution and degree of deacetylation (DD). These parameters influence the physical, chemical, and biological properties, such as solubility, viscosity of solutions, and its biological activity.

One technique which can be used for quality control is dilute solution viscometry. Polymers are diluted in appropriate solvents and the viscosity of the pure solvent is set in relation to the viscosity of the polymer solution. This procedure yields the relative viscosity, a basic parameter from which many others can be calculated. The most interesting one is the intrinsic viscosity which is related to the molar mass of a polymer as formulated in the Mark-Houwink equation.

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