GlycoPure: enzymatic conversion of chitin to glucosamine



GlycoPure sought to modify an existing, proprietary, cell-based method for converting chitin to n-acetylglucosamine (NAG) to effectively produce NAG, a high-value chemical precursor to glucosamine.


Through the MIPS project, researchers are working to improve the overall process by removing the requirement for bacterial growth using an enzyme-mediated process. The enzymes are already in use for the cell-based process. Operators responsible for the NAG production will only need to add enzymes to the raw material and employ a well-controlled bioprocess to generate NAG. Designs for commercial-scale processing will also be developed. A secondary objective of the project is to evaluate processes for the conversion of the resulting NAG to glucosamine (GlcN) and scout for the most cost-effective recovery process for this product.


While the project is in progress, several bacteria strains have been identified.

GlycoPure 2

Interesting Fact

Chitin is extracted from crab and other crustacean shells and can be converted to glucosamine, which is used in products sold as building blocks for cartilage.

Project Manager:  C. P. Condon;  Principal InvestigatorWilliam Bentley, UMD
Location:  Cambridge, Maryland – Dorchester County;  Project Start Date:  8/1/2011

Leading up to (and beyond) the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) 25th Anniversary Gala, we will frequently profile one (or more) of the 500+ companies that have utilized MIPS funding to bring innovations to market and create jobs in Maryland.

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