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Pure Appl. Chem., 2013, Vol. 85, No. 8, pp. 1693-1701

Published online 2013-06-27

A “green” industrial revolution: Using chitin towards transformative technologies

Patrick S. Barber, Julia L. Shamshina and Robin D. Rogers*

Center for Green Manufacturing and Department of Chemistry, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA

Abstract: Even with the high costs of environmental exposure controls, as well as the chance of control failures, options for industries wanting to implement sustainability through frameworks such as green chemistry are not yet cost-effective. We foresee a “green” industrial revolution through the use of transformative technologies that provide cost-effective and sustainable products which could lead to new business opportunities. Through example, we promote the use of natural and abundant biopolymers such as chitin, combined with the solvating power of ionic liquids (ILs), as a transformative technology to develop industries that are overall better and more cost-effective than current practices. The use of shellfish waste as a source of chitin for a variety of applications, including high-value medical applications, represents a total byproduct utilization concept with realistic implications in crustacean processing industries.