Solid-state mechanochemical synthesis of chitosan from mud crab (Scylla serrata) chitin

Mimi Asyiqin Asrahwi, Nurul ‘Aqilah Rosman, Nurulizzatul Ningsheh M. Shahri, Jose Hernandez Santos, Eny Kusrini, Sutarat Thongratkaew, Kajornsak Faungnawakij, Salma Hassan, Abdul Hanif Mahadi, Anwar Usman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents a method for solvent-free mechanochemical synthesis of chitosan from chitin, sourced from the shells of mud crabs (Scylla serrata). The procedure involves a sequence of demineralization and deproteinization to extract chitin from the crab shells, followed by mechanochemical deacetylation. The chitin was deacetylated by grinding it as a solid blend with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) using a stainless steel mortar and pestle. After grinding, chitosan is isolated from the blend by repetitive washing and centrifugation. The chitosan product is then characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction analysis. These characterization techniques confirm the successful deacetylation of chitin to form chitosan. A high degree of deacetylation (DD) is achieved when the weight ratio of NaOH to chitin is 1:1 or higher, implying that the DD value can be enhanced by increasing this weight ratio. The mechanochemical reaction mechanism involves the hydroxyl groups on the NaOH particles reacting with the acetamide groups of the chitin strands, yielding solid chitosan and sodium acetate. This mechanochemical deacetylation approach is more practical than the conventional heterogeneous deacetylation in strong basic solutions, since it could suppress depolymerization of the resulting chitosan and requires significantly less base. This makes it a promising method for large-scale industrial applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108971
JournalCarbohydrate Research
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Chitin
  • Chitosan
  • Mechanochemical deacetylation
  • Mud crab shells
  • Reaction mechanism
  • Solid-state reaction


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