Chitosan Market for Water Treatment, Biomedicine & Pharmaceutics, Industrial, Food & Beverages, Cosmetics – Industry Analysis, Development, Growth and Demand Forecast to 2020

Chitosan is an organic carbohydrate polymer derived from chitin. Chitin is a naturally occurring long chain polymer found abundantly in crustacean marine animals such as crabs, lobsters, shrimps and squids. Chitosan is also derived from fungal source through substrate fermentation. The global market for chitosan is extremely attractive as this polymer has wide applications in various end-use industries such as water treatment, cosmetics, food supplements, biomedical, pharmaceutical, paper manufacturing, and agriculture. Extensive research and development initiatives continue to be undertaken in order to ascertain other future novel applications of chitosan, especially in biomedical and pharmaceutical arenas.

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Wide usage of chitosan as a water treatment chemical drives the market for this natural polymer. The global demand for chitosan is the largest from the water treatment industry where it is used as a flocculating agent for wastewater treatment and a chelating agent that removes traces of metals from industrial wastewater. Furthermore, this chitin derivative is used as an adsorbent to remove harmful radioisotopes from polluted water and to recover uranium from sea as well as fresh water. Usage of chitosan in the cosmetics industry is notable. Cosmetic compositions with chitosan derivatives are suitable in hair and skin treatment products. Additionally, chitosan is used in shampoos, body washes, hairdressing creams, hair conditioners, hair lotions, as well as face washes and other skin care and skin protection cosmetics. Pharmaceutical and biomedical are the fastest growing application segments for chitosan. Grades of chitosan used for these applications are superior to the grades used for all other applications. Chitosan used in medical and pharmaceutical applications is of the most refined quality. Wound dressings manufactured using chitosan are available for clinical use. Clinical studies have established that chitosan promotes the healing of external wounds. This chitin derivative is also used to manufacture capsules.

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Chitosan is inherently non-toxic; this renders it a viable drug excipient. Increasing acceptance of chitosan as food supplement is one of the reasons for the substantial growth of the chitosan market. The fastest growing application of chitosan is as an agricultural chemical. Chitosan acts as a biofungicide and preservative coating when sprayed on agricultural produce. Fertilizers containing chitosan are effective in increasing the number of agriculture-friendly soil microorganisms and reducing the number of harmful microorganisms. Chitosan is also used to produce certain types of environment-friendly pesticides. The global chitosan market is expected to experience brisk growth rate in the near future due to high demand from different applications. However, global demand for chitosan is higher than its production. The chitosan market is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 16% by volume production from 2014 to 2020.

Asia Pacific holds the largest market share in terms of chitosan production. Japan and China are the major producers of chitosan in the region. Asia Pacific accounted for over 55% share of the global market share in 2013, followed by North America and Europe. RoW is the fastest growing market for chitosan production, closely followed by Asia Pacific. However, demand for chitosan is the highest in North America and developed economies of Europe and Japan due to large demand for high-quality grades of chitosan for cosmetics, biomedical and pharmaceutical applications. Production of chitosan for water treatment application is the highest owing to high demand from North America, Europe and Japan. Demand for chitosan in emerging economies in Asia is likely to increase in the near future.

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The global chitosan market is fragmented in nature and many regional players account for nominal market shares. Major players operating in the chitosan market include G.T.C. Bio Corporation, Biothera, Golden-Shell Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Heppe Medical Chitosan GmbH and FMC Corporation.

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