Development and production of new insect chitosan and chitosan based functional coatings for yarns and textile fabrics
Acronym: ChitoTex

Project coordinator
- Susanne Zibek - Fraunhofer Institute of Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology - Germany

Project leaders
- Thomas Stegmaier - Institute of Textile Technology and Process Engineering - Germany
- Rudi Breier - Textilchemie Dr. Petry GmbH - Germany
- Volker Steidel - Lauffenmühle GmbH & Co. KG - Germany
- Jan Modregger - Eucodis Bioscience - Austria
- Tarique Arsiwalla - Protix Biosystems - the Netherlands
- Vincent Eijsink - Norwegian University of Life Sciences - Norway

Chitin is besides cellulose the second most important natural polymer in the world, found in marine crustaceans, like shrimps and crabs, insects and fungi. With the growth of the ecological awareness, the commercial interest for chitin and chitin-based products is increasing due to its biodegradability, biocompatibility, antimicrobial activity, and non-toxicity. Major end-user applications are found in wastewater treatment, animal feed, agriculture, cosmetics, and medicine. The total annual world production of purified chitin obtained from byproducts of the seafood industry is about 1600 tones, with Japan and USA being the main producers. The European market is increasing steadily. However, chitin and chitosan have to be imported to Europe for industrial application. A new European chitin source is insect chitin, a side-product within animal feed production. Insect larvae are used as protein source for animal feed whereas adult insects are used for reproduction. This leads to cocoons and insect bodies which can be used as chitin-rich resource. The aim of ChitoTex is the valorization of these insect chitin side-products and the application of insect chitin in functional coatings for textile surfaces, especially for technical purposes in mobile process development, home areas, packaging materials, building construction, civil engineering, geotextiles as well as clothing for working and protection. Through the interdisciplinary network and cooperation of microbiologists, chemists, and engineers an enzymatic-chemical approach will be developed for the allocation of chitin-based raw-materials with different properties (e.g. watersolubility) which can be further processed by the industrial textile partners to first functional coatings for textiles out of insect chitin.