The Importance of Chitin in the Marine Environment

TitleThe Importance of Chitin in the Marine Environment
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsSouza C.P, Almeida B.C, Colwell RR, Rivera I.NG
JournalMarine BiotechnologyMarine Biotechnology
Type of Article10.1007/s10126-011-9388-1

Chitin is the most abundant renewable polymer in the oceans and is an important source of carbon and nitrogen for marine organisms. The process of chitin degradation is a key step in the cycling of nutrients in the oceans and chitinolytic bacteria play a significant role in this process. These bacteria are autochthonous to both marine and freshwater ecosystems and produce chitinases that degrade chitin, an insoluble polysaccharide, to a biologically useful form. In this brief review, a description of the structure of chitin and diversity of chitinolytic bacteria in the oceans is provided, in the context of the significance of chitin degradation for marine life.