Canadian researchers report breakthrough in scaling chitin-based plastics


In Canada, researchers at McGill University are converting chitin, a material found in lobster and shrimp shells, into a biodegradable plastic.

Associate Professor of Applied Chemistry Audrey Moores tells CBC chitin is already used to produce polymers. Her group’s breakthrough was developing a way to produce them at larger scale. The team has already patented the process and is working on making the material more malleable using nontoxic additives.

The bioplastic can be used in disposable products such as cutlery and bags as well as 3D printer filaments. Chitin is also found in insect skeletons, making it extremely abundant.