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Chitosan is a linear polysaccharide composed of randomly distributed β--linked D-glucosamine and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. It is made by treating shrimp and other crustacean shells with the alkali sodium hydroxide

The agricultural and horticultural uses for chitosan, primarily for plant defense and yield increase, are based on how this glucosamine polymer influences the biochemistry and molecular biology of the plant cell. The cellular targets are the plasma membrane and nuclear chromatin. Subsequent changes occur in cell membranes, chromatin, DNA, calcium, MAP Kinase, oxidative burst, reactive oxygen species, callose pathogenesis-related (PR) genes and phytoalexins

Chitosan chemical structural formula.svg


Other names
Poliglusam; Deacetylchitin; Poly-(D)glucosamine


CAS Registry Number


Related compounds

Related compounds

D-glucosamine and N-Acetyl glucosamine(monomers)

Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).