Comparison of the Degree of Acetylation of Chitin Nanocrystals Measured by Various Analysis Methods

Murat Yanat*, Ivanna Colijn*, Kieke De Boer, Karin Schroën

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Chitin and its derivate chitosan have versatile properties and have been used in various applications. One key parameter determining the functionality of chitin-based materials is the degree of acetylation (DA). For DA determination, NMR and FTIR spectroscopy are often considered to be the gold standard, but these techniques may not always be available and are rather time-consuming and costly. The first derivative UV method has been suggested, although accurate measurements can be challenging for materials with high degrees of acetylation, due to hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) formation and other side reactions occurring. In this paper, we re-evaluated the first derivate UV method for chitin and chitosan powder, chitin nanocrystals, and deacetylated chitin nanocrystals. Our results showed that the first derivative UV method is capable of measuring DA with high accuracy (>0.9), leading to values comparable to those obtained by 1H NMR, 13C NMR, and FTIR. Moreover, by-product formation could either be suppressed by selecting the proper experimental conditions, or be compensated. For chitin nanocrystals, DA calculation deviations up to 20% due to by-product formation can be avoided with the correction that we propose. We conclude that the first derivative UV method is an accessible method for DA quantification, provided that sample solubility is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number294
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2023


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