Dissolution of mechanically milled chitin in high temperature water

Taku Michael Aida, Kenji Oshima, Chihiro Abe, Ryoma Maruta, Masayuki Iguchi, Masaru Watanabe, Richard L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Chitin is high in crystallinity in its natural form and does not dissolve into high temperature water (HTW), which often leads to decomposition reactions such as hydrolysis, deacetylation and dehydration when hydrothermally processed. In this work, we investigated the reactions of mechanically milled chitin in HTW. Mechanical milling pretreatment combined with HTW treatment improved the liquefaction of chitin giving a maximum water soluble fraction of 80%, where the untreated chitin was 55%. The reaction mechanism of the milled and raw chitin in HTW was shown to be different. For milled chitin, the dissolution of chitin occurred during the heating period to supercritical water conditions (400 C) at short reaction times (1 min). Extended reaction time (10 min) led to decomposition products and aromatic char formation. For raw chitin, the dissolution of chitin in HTW did not occur, due to its high crystallinity, so that liquefaction proceeded via decomposition reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-178
Number of pages7
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun 15


  • Chitin
  • High temperature water
  • Mechanical milling
  • Reaction mechanism


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