Chitin and chitosan are natural biopolymers that are non-toxic, biodegradable and biocompatible. In the last decade, chitin and chitosan derivatives have garnered significant interest in the biomedical and biopharmaceutical research fields with applications as biomaterials for tissue engineering and wound healing and as excipients for drug delivery. Introducing small chemical groups to the chitin or chitosan structure, such as alkyl or carboxymethyl groups, can drastically increase the solubility of chitin and chitosan at neutral and alkaline pH values without affecting their characteristics; substitution with carboxyl groups can yield polymers with polyampholytic properties. Carboxymethyl derivatives of chitin and chitosan have shown promise for adsorbing metal ions, as drug delivery systems, in wound healing, as anti-microbial agents, in tissue engineering, as components in cosmetics and food and for anti-tumor activities. This review will focus on the preparative methods and applications of carboxymethyl and succinyl derivatives of chitin and chitosan with particular emphasis on their uses as materials for biomedical applications. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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Ra Jayakumar, Prabaharan, Mb, Nair, S. Va, Tokura, Sc, Tamura, Hc, and Selvamurugan, Nd, “Novel carboxymethyl derivatives of chitin and chitosan materials and their biomedical applications”, Progress in Materials Science, vol. 55, pp. 675-709, 2010.