The squid pen (gladius) from the Loligo vulgaris was used for preparation of β-chitin materials characterized by different chemical, micro- and nano-structural properties that preserved, almost completely the macrostructural and the mechanical ones.
The β-chitin materials obtained by alkaline treatment showed porosity, wettability and swelling that are a function of the duration of the treatment.
Microscopic, spectroscopic and synchrotron X-ray diffraction techniques showed that the chemical environment of the N–acetyl groups of the β-chitin chains changes after the thermal alkaline treatment.
As a consequence, the crystalline packing of the β-chitin is modified, due to the intercalation of water molecules between β-chitin sheets. Potential applications of these β-chitin materials range from the nanotechnology to the regenerative medicine.
The use of gladii, which are waste products of the fishing industry, has also important environmental implications.
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