Chitosan as antimicrobial agent: applications and mode of action

Biomacromolecules. 2003 Nov-Dec;4(6):1457-65. doi: 10.1021/bm034130m.


Chitosan, a hydrophilic biopolymer industrially obtained by N-deacetylation of chitin, can be applied as an antimicrobial agent. The current review of 129 references describes the biological activity of several chitosan derivatives and the modes of action that have been postulated in the literature. It highlights the applications of chitosan as an antimicrobial agent against fungi, bacteria, and viruses and as an elicitor of plant defense mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Chitin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Chitin / chemistry
  • Chitin / pharmacology*
  • Chitosan
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Viruses / drug effects


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Chitin
  • Chitosan