structure of the chitin molecule, showing two of the n-acetylglucosamine
units that repeat to form long chains in β-(1→4)-linkage.
of the chitin molecule.
a close-up of the wing of a leafhopper
; the wing is composed of chitin.
chitin (c8h13o5n)n (/ ky-tin), a long-chain polymer of n-acetylglucosamine, is a derivative of glucose. it is a primary component of cell walls in fungi, the exoskeletons of arthropods, such as crustaceans and insects, the radulae of molluscs, cephalopod beaks, and the scales of fish and lissamphibians. the structure of chitin is comparable to another polysaccharide—cellulose, forming crystalline nanofibrils or whiskers. in terms of function, it may be compared to the protein keratin. chitin has proved useful for several medicinal, industrial and biotechnological purposes.