Journal of Pharmacy And Bioallied Sciences
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 21-29

Chitinases: An update

1 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, AMU, Aligarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Saleem Javed
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi
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Source of Support: Department of Science and Technology (DST), India, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-7406.106559

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Chitin, the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature after cellulose, is found in the exoskeleton of insects, fungi, yeast, and algae, and in the internal structures of other vertebrates. Chitinases are enzymes that degrade chitin. Chitinases contribute to the generation of carbon and nitrogen in the ecosystem. Chitin and chitinolytic enzymes are gaining importance for their biotechnological applications, especially the chitinases exploited in agriculture fields to control pathogens. Chitinases have a use in human health care, especially in human diseases like asthma. Chitinases have wide-ranging applications including the preparation of pharmaceutically important chitooligosaccharides and N-acetyl D glucosamine, preparation of single-cell protein, isolation of protoplasts from fungi and yeast, control of pathogenic fungi, treatment of chitinous waste, mosquito control and morphogenesis, etc. In this review, the various types of chitinases and the chitinases found in different organisms such as bacteria, plants, fungi, and mammals are discussed.

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