Extraction and characterization of chitin from the invasive Asian hornet Vespa velutina nigrithorax

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Since first being detected in France in 2005, the invasive yellow-legged hornet, Vespa velutina nigrithorax Lepeletier, 1836 (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), has spread rapidly and is currently present in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium and The Channel Islands. It has also recently been found in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

The large numbers of Vespa velutina captured for the control of this specie provide an abundant and stable source for the production of chitin.

Chitin is the most abundant biopolymer in the nature, behind only cellulose. Structurally, it is the simplest of the glycosaminoglycans, being a β(1→4) linked linear homopolymer of N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc, [C8H13O5N]n, where n››1).

In the present work, the isolation and characterization of chitin from Vespa velutina is described. Moreover, a trapping procedure is presented to catch selectively the invasive insect. Chitin was purified using alkaline and acid treatments, followed by decolourization. The physiochemical properties of the obtained Vespa velutina chitin were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), elemental analysis (EA), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

Based on the quality of the obtained product, chitin isolated from Vespa velutina is a promising alternative source of chitin in terms of utilization and applications, in various fields such as biomedical, nanotechnological, pharmaceutical, food and environmental areas.

Authors: Xesús Feás *, M. Pilar Vázquez-Tato, Julio A. Seijas

Conference: The 22nd International Electronic Conference on Synthetic Organic Chemistry

Section: Bioorganic, Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry


Electronic conferences on synthetic organic chemistry (ECSOC) are a series of conferences maintained through the internet since 1997, an original initiative by MDPI, and later consolidated with the contribution of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Nowadays it constitutes the first and oldest electronic conference in the world. It maintains its character of free participation, with contributions considered as preliminary reports on edge achievements, and registration as a distinctive standard of the world wide web open access character.

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