Chitin by Riccardo A. A. Muzzarelli (Auth.)

By Riccardo A. A. Muzzarelli (Auth.)

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515 nm and the number of residues per turn of the helix as 2. The unit cell contains two chains running in opposite directions, each constituted of two screw-related units of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. To obtain the dimensions of the monomer unit, data from various crystal structure reports on different compounds containing D-glucose and related compounds were used. A planar conformation was assumed for the aminoacetyl group, as this is very similar to the peptide group. Two such monomer units linked at the glycosidic oxygen give the chitobiose unit of the chitin chain which actually repeats along the b (fiber) axis.

Rudall (1967) described the faster degradation of the matrix by molting fluids than the chitin, leading him to the hypothesis of the occurrence of chitin microfibrils in a protein matrix. However, even in early reports on the preparation of samples for x-ray diffraction studies, it was remarked (Fraenkel & Rudall, 1947) that partly digested cuticles give a chitin x-ray diffraction spectrum sharper than the untreated cuticle spectrum, because of the increased orientation introduced by the treatment.

The x-ray diffraction spectra were recorded on the cell walls of Muoor rouxii, and electron microscope observations were made after digestion with 1 N hydrochloric acid at 100° for 30 min to remove most of the protein and non-nitrogenous carbohydrate as well as all the chitosan to observe chitin microfibrils. 5. Composition of cell walls of Mucor Nickerson, 1962. Component Readily extracted lipids Bound lipids Chitosan Chitin Unidentified sugars Fucose Mannose Galactose Other carbohydrates Protein Purines and pyrimidines Phosphate Magnesium Calcium rouxii.

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