Table of Contents
Why is chitin so important?
Biological importance Chitin serves as a protective covering and mechanical support to soft-bodied organisms producing it. In insects and arthropods, chitin is a crucial component of their exoskeleton. Chitin is also present in insect body wall, gut lining, salivary glands, mouth parts, and muscle attachment points.
What is the significance of chitin in arthropods?
Chitin is a major constituent of the exoskeleton, or external skeleton, of many arthropods such as insects, spiders, and crustaceans. Exoskeletons made of this durable and firm compound support and protect the delicate soft tissues of these animals, which lack an internal skeleton.
How does the structure of chitin relate to its function?
Chitin in Fungi In fungi, chitin is used to create a cell wall. Much like cellulose in plants, the chitin is deposited extracellularly with proteins and other molecules. This forms a rigid cell wall between cells, which help the organisms retain their shape.
Do humans produce chitin?
Mammals, including mice and humans, do not synthesize chitin but possess two active chitinases, chitotriosidase (Chit1) and acidic chitinase (hereafter referred to as “Chia”; alternative name: acidic mammalian chitinase, AMCase) in their genomes34,35.
How is chitin used in society?
Chitin is a structural component of arthropod exoskeletons, fungi cell walls, mollusk shells, and fish scales. While humans don’t produce chitin, it has uses in medicine and as a nutritional supplement. It may be used to make biodegradable plastic and surgical thread, as a food additive, and in paper manufacturing.
How does chitin differ from cellulose in structure and function?
Cellulose and chitin are two structural polymers found in nature. The key difference between cellulose and chitin is that cellulose is the significant structural polymer in the primary cell walls of the plant cells while chitin is the main structural polymer found in the fungal cell wall.