Developing a Sustainable Bioprocess for Chitin Extraction from Atlantic Lobster Shell Waste
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The goal of this research was to develop a fermentative chitin extraction method from Atlantic lobster shell waste. Results showed initial inoculum ratio was the most statistically significant variable in chitin extraction efficiency at a 5% shell ratio. Novel pre-treatments (MAE and UAE) were not found to have a significant influence on extraction efficiency under the tested conditions regardless of the presence of lactose in the pre-treated slurry. As determined by degree of decalcification and deproteinization as well as further measurement of fermentation dynamics, the most efficient of the tested formulations was 5% shell: 5% lactose: 5% inoculum (w/v) without a pre-treatment. The fermentation achieved 95.0% decalcification and 72.7% deproteinization when maintained at 37°C for 5 days with constant stirring. This fermentative approach using lactose and lactobacilli inoculum successfully yielded high levels of mineral and protein removal however further studies are required to optimize the process.