Size Distribution and Characteristics of Chitin Microgels Prepared via Emulsified Reverse-Micelles.


Department of Materials Science and Technology, School of Engineering, Nagaoka University of Technology, 1603-1, Kamitomioka, Nagaoka, Niigata 940-2188, Japan. [Email]


Chitin was extracted from local snow crab shell waste and used as a raw material in the fabrication of porous spherical microgels. The chitin microgels were obtained using a batch process of emulsification and, afterward, gelation. The effects of chitin concentrations, oil and water phase ratios (O:W), surfactants, and gelation on the size distribution and morphology of the microgels were investigated. The extracted chitin possessed α-chitin with a degree of acetylation of ~60% and crystallinity of 70%, as confirmed by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-Ray Powder Diffraction (XRD). In the reverse-micellar emulsification, different chitin concentrations in NaOH solution were used as aqueous phases, and n-hexane media containing Span 80-based surfactants were used as dispersion phases. Various HCl solutions were used as gelling agents. Microgels with sizes ranging from ~5-200 μm were obtained relying on these studied parameters. Under the condition of 3% w/w chitin solution using O:W of 15:1 at 5% w/w of Span 80 (hydrophilic-lipophilic balance; HLB of 4.3), the gelation in the emulsified reverse micelles was better controlled and capable of forming spherical microgel particles with a size of 7.1 ± 0.3 μm, when 800 μL of 1 M HCl was added. The prepared chitin microgel exhibited macro-pore morphology and swelling behavior sensitive to the acidic pH.


chitin,crab shell,gelation,reverse micelle,spherical microgels,