Extraction of chitin and chitosan from larval exuvium and whole body of edible mealworm, Tenebrio molitor : Chitin and chitosan from edible mealworm
The purpose of this study was to investigate the production of chitin and chitosan from both the exuvium and whole body of mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) larvae. Chitin from the exuvium and whole body of T. molitor larvae was chemically extracted with acid and alkali solutions to achieve demineralization (DM) and deproteinization (DP), respectively. The average DM (%) and DP (%) on a dry weight (DW) basis was 32.56 and 73.16% from larval exuvium, and 41.68 and 91.53% from whole body, respectively. To obtain chitosan, chitin particles from the exuvium and whole body of T. molitor larva were heated at various temperatures in different concentrations of NaOH. Average chitin yields were 18.01% and 4.92% of DW from the exuvium and whole body, respectively. The relative average yield of chitosan from whole body was 3.65% of DW. On average, over 90% of chitosan derived from whole body was deacetylated. The viscosity of chitosan from whole body was ranged from 48.0cP to 54.0cP. The chitin content of dry and wet byproducts from whole body were 17.32% and 16.94% respectively, compared to dry weight. The chitosan contents of byproducts on a DW basis were 14.48% in dry and 13.07% in wet byproduct. These results indicate that the exuvium and whole body of T. molitor larva may serve as a source of chitin and chitosan for use in domestic animal feed.
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