Modern seafood processing practices result in a large volume of waste products, i.e., skin, head, tails, shells, scales, backbones, etc. These waste products may often encompass several high-value products which are still untapped due to the lack of appropriate management. We have to be aware that the production and consumption of crustaceans needs to be revised into a more sustainable endeavor. Nevertheless it would be a waste not to look deeper into these products, with so many ares of application including medical, agricultural, food processing, nutritional enhancement, cosmetics, and waste and water treatment.
This seafood waste contains a huge amount of chitin, a polysaccharide that exhibits exceptional inherent characteristics including biocompatibility, biodegradability, antimicrobial, antitumor and antioxidant activities. From there we are just one process (deacetylation) away to produce chitosan, which turnout, could be a source of sustainable energy.
Researchers of the Purdue’s College of Engineering were able to synthesize triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) from Chitosan, which turn energy into electricity. This includes transforming the mechanical energy produced by our bodies into electrical energy. Because chitosan is abundant and readily available, it creates application opportunities across multiple disciplines at a low cost.