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Category: Reactions and Processes
Question: What is glucosamine and how is it made?
Keywords: v1i8,gulcosamine,production,uses
Answer: Glucosamine is a "nutraceutical" amino sugar with worldwide retail sales approaching $1 billion (USD). It's called a "nutraceutical" because it's used for health purposes, but it's not regulated like a drug. It's commonly used for the treatment of arthritis because it's believed to be able to promote the formation and repair of cartilage.The most common production method is via the acid hydrolysis of chitin (a polysaccharide found in crab shells). Essentially, the raw material is simply boiled in hydrochloric acid, then the product is crystallized out. This market has been primarily dominated by China. Other countries have found it difficult to compete due to the price of hydrochloric acid and the cost of waste treatment.A more promising route to glucosamine is via the use of microbial fermentation. Two companies (Bio-Technical Resources and Biopolymer Engineering Inc.) have such processes operating on world scale size plants. More details of this new process are available via U.S. Patent #6,372,457.
Links: Bio-Technical Resources Website

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