The combined effects of degree of deacetylation (DD) and degree of polymerization (DP) on the ability of chitosan to interact with olive oil was studied. The oil-binding test, a method that makes use of olive oil as a representative fat, was adopted as a measure of the interaction of chitosan and olive oil. The oil-binding capacities of twelve chitosan samples with DPs ranging from 470 to 1450 and DDs of 75% to 95% were determined. The oil-binding capacities were then correlated to the DD and DP using partial least squares (PLS) regression. The generated PLS model had a root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) of 9.1%. Results indicated that oil-binding capacity is a function of DD more than of DP. For chitosan with DD at the interval 50%<DD<90%, a negatively sloped linear correlation was obtained for DD and oil-binding capacity suggesting that hydrophobic intermolecular forces of attraction dominates the interaction of chitosan with olive oil. For chitosan with DD>90%, the observed deviation from the linear correlation increased. In this interval, free fatty acid anions facilitate the interaction of chitosan and olive oil. Free fatty acids form a stable ionic interaction with the former and a strong hydrophobic interaction with the latter.
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