Chitin Nanofibers with a Uniform Width of 10 to 20 nm and Their Transparent Nanocomposite Films
Chitin nanofibers were prepared from dried crab shells by a simple grinding treatment in a never-dried state under an acidic condition after the removal of proteins and minerals. The obtained nanofibers were observed by FE-SEM and found to have a uniform width of approximately 10-20 nm and high aspect ratio; both these findings were similar to those for nanofibers from prawns. Furthermore, it was confirmed that the nanofibers were extracted from the natural chitin/protein/mineral composites of crab shell in their original state. That is, the N-acetyl group was not removed and the alpha-chitin crystal structure was maintained, as confirmed by elemental analysis data, FT-IR spectra, and X-ray diffraction profiles.