Chitin is a naturally abundant polymer that also happens to be biodegradable. Chitin can be used in a variety of different products such as biodegradable plastics, papers, medical products, foods, and medical treatments. To extract chitin, shells must be demineralized and deproteinized. The goal of this experiment was to examine the effect of the protease Alcalase in the deproteinization of litopenaeus setiferus shells. The hypothesis was that if the concentration of Alcalase increased, then the absorbance of proteins in the spectrophotometer reading would increase. The null hypothesis was that if the concentration increased there would be no change in absorption. Shrimp shells were first cooked in boiling water for 20 minutes then grinded up with liquid nitrogen. Then, some were demineralized using hydrochloric acid while others were untouched by this step. Demineralized shrimp shells and untouched were put into several different solutions of 0%, 0.5%, 1.5%, and 2.5% concentration. Afterwards, they were put in a water bath to kill the Alcalase. All samples were read through a UV Visible Spectrophotometer to find that the data was too red-shifted and inaccurate above 2 Au to give any factual conclusion. These problems were conjectured to be attributed by polarity, the machine itself, and the HCl bath. The data could be interpreted to disprove the null hypothesis, as 0.5% looked to be the optimal concentration, if the red-shift and absorption above 2 Au was caused by the reasons above.
Quan, Liam T.
"The Effect of Alcalase Concentration on the Proteins from the Shells of Litopenaeus Setiferus (White Shrimp),"
Journal of the South Carolina Academy of Science: Vol. 19:
1, Article 12.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jscas/vol19/iss1/12