The Preparation and Physiochemical Characterization of Tenebrio molitor Chitin Using Alcalase

Hyemi Kim, Hyeongyeong Kim, Yejin Ahn, Ki Bae Hong, In Woo Kim, Ra Yeong Choi, Hyung Joo Suh, Sung Hee Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Chitin is mostly produced from crustaceans, but it is difficult to supply raw materials due to marine pollution, and the commonly used chemical chitin extraction method is not environmentally friendly. Therefore, this study aims to establish a chitin extraction process using enzymes and to develop edible insect-derived chitin as an eco-friendly new material. The response surface methodology (RSM) was used to determine the optimal conditions for enzymatic hydrolysis. The optimal conditions for enzymatic hydrolysis by RSM were determined to be the substrate concentration (7.5%), enzyme concentration (80 μL/g), and reaction time (24 h). The solubility and DDA of the mealworm chitosan were 45% and 37%, respectively, and those of the commercial chitosan were 61% and 57%, respectively. In regard to the thermodynamic properties, the exothermic peak of mealworm chitin was similar to that of commercial chitin. In the FT-IR spectrum, a band was observed in mealworm chitin corresponding to the C=O of the NHCOCH3 group at 1645 cm−1, but this band showed low-intensity C=O in the mealworm chitosan due to deacetylation. Collectively, mealworm chitosan shows almost similar physical and chemical properties to commercial chitosan. Therefore, it is shown that an eco-friendly process can be introduced into chitosan production by using enzyme-extracted mealworms for chitin/chitosan production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3254
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Rural Development Administration (PJ01591202).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • Alcalase
  • biomedical products
  • chitin
  • chitosan
  • mealworms
  • Tenebrio molitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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