The biological material, chitin, is present in nature in three allomorphic forms: α, β and γ. Whereas most studies have dealt with α- and β-chitin, only few investigations have focused on γ-chitin, whose structural and physicochemical properties have not been well delineated. In this study, chitin obtained for the first time from the cocoon of the moth (Orgyia dubia) was subjected to extensive physicochemical analyses and examined, in parallel, with α-chitin from exoskeleton of a freshwater crab and β-chitin from cuttlebone of the common cuttlefish. Our results, which are supported by13C CP-MAS NMR, XRD, FT-IR, Raman spectroscopy, TGA, DSC, SEM, AFM, chitinase digestive test and elemental analysis, verify the authenticity of γ-chitin. Further, quantum chemical calculations were conducted on all three allomorphic forms, and, together with our physicochemical analyses, demonstrate that γ-chitin is distinct, yet closer in structure to α-chitin than β-chitin.
- Molecular modelling