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Lobster Homarus americanus



A tough, protective natural substance composed of a Nitrogen containing Polysaccharide. Chitin is the principal component in seashells as well as the exoskeletons of crabs, lobsters, insects, and beetles. It is also found in the cell walls of some fungi, Algae, and yeasts. Chitin is inelastic, thus growing arthropods must shed their exoskeletons periodically.

Synonyms and Related Terms

kitin (Dan.); Chitin (Deut.); quitina (Esp., Port.); chitine (Fr., Ned.); chitina (It.); chityna (Pol.)


Chitin, Fly exoskeleton.TIF


  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in concentrated mineral acids. Insoluble in common solvents.

Composition (C8H13NO5)n
CAS 1398-61-4

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Walter C. McCrone, John Gustave Delly, The Particle Atlas, W. McCrone Associates, Chicago, IV, 1972
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 2105
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998