This study evaluated the deacetylation characteristics of β-chitin from jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) pens by using strongly alkaline solutions of NaOH or KOH. Taguchi design was employed to investigate the effect of reagent concentration, temperature, time, and treatment step on molecular mass (MM) and degree of deacetylation (DDA) of the chitosan obtained. The optimal treatment conditions for achieving high MM and DDA of chitosan were identified as: 40% NaOH at 90°C for 6h with three separate steps (2h+2h+2h) or 50% NaOH at 90°C for 6h with one step, or 50% KOH at 90°C for 4h with three steps (1h+1h+2h) or 6h with one step. The most important factor affecting DDA and MM was temperature and time, respectively. The chitosan obtained was then further depolymerized by cellulase or lysozyme with cellulase giving a higher degradation ratio, lower relative viscosity, and a larger amount of reducing-end formations than that of lysozyme due to its higher susceptibility. This study demonstrated that jumbo squid pens are a good source of materials to produce β-chitosan with high DDA and a wide range of MM for various potential applications.
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