Molecule of the Week

Chitin

September 11, 2006

Chitin is responsible for that crunch you hear when cracking a lobster claw at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco at the ACS Fall National Meeting. This carbohydrate forms the naturally-occurring polymers that make up the hard outer shells of insects, spiders, crabs, and shrimp. Chitin extracted from crab and shrimp shells is compatible with human tissue and has been found to be useful to accelerate healing in wounds.