ASTM F2260 - 03(2012)e1

    Standard Test Method for Determining Degree of Deacetylation in Chitosan Salts by Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (1H NMR) Spectroscopy

    Active Standard ASTM F2260 | Developed by Subcommittee: F04.42

    Book of Standards Volume: 13.01


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    ASTM F2260

    Significance and Use

    4.1 The degree of deacetylation of chitosan salts is an important characterization parameter since the charge density of the chitosan molecule is responsible for potential biological and functional effects.

    4.2 The degree of deacetylation (% DA) of water-soluble chitosan salts can be determined by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H NMR). Several workers have reported on the NMR determination of chemical composition and sequential arrangement of monomer units in chitin and chitosan. The test method described is primarily based on the work of Vårum et al. (1991),5 which represents the first publication on routine determination of chemical composition in chitosans by solution state 1H NMR spectroscopy. This test method is applicable for determining the % DA of chitosan chloride and chitosan glutamate salts. It is a simple, rapid, and suitable method for routine use. Quantitative 1H NMR spectroscopy reports directly on the relative concentration of chemically distinct protons in the sample, consequently, no assumptions, calibration curves or calculations other than determination of relative signal intensity ratios are necessary.

    4.3 In order to obtain well-resolved NMR spectra, depolymerization of chitosans to a number average degree of polymerization (DPn) of ~15 to 30 is required. This reduces the viscosity and increases the mobility of the molecules. Although there are several options for depolymerization of chitosans, the most convenient procedure is that of nitrous acid degradation in deuterated water. The reaction is selective, stoichiometric with respect to GlcN, rapid, and easily controlled (Allan & Peyron, 1995).6 The reaction selectively cleaves after a GlcN-residue, transforming it into 2,5-anhydro-D-mannose (chitose), consequently, depletion of GlcN after depolymerization is expected. On the other hand, the chitose unit displays characteristic 1H NMR signals the intensity of which may be estimated and utilized in the calculation of % DA, eliminating the need for correction factors. Using the intensity of the chitose signals, the number average degree of polymerization can easily be calculated as a control of the depolymerization.

    4.4 Samples are equilibrated and analyzed at a temperature of 90 ± 1°C. Elevated sample temperature contributes to reducing sample viscosity and repositions the proton signal of residual water to an area outside that of interest. While samples are not stored at 90°C but only analyzed at this elevated temperature, the NMR tubes should be sealed with a stopper to avoid any evaporation. At a sample pH* of 3.8-4.3 (see 6.1.5 below), artifactual deacetylation of the sample does not occur during the short equilibration and analysis time.

    4.5 A general description of NMR can be found in <761> of the USP 35-NF30.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the degree of deacetylation in chitosan and chitosan salts intended for use in biomedical and pharmaceutical applications as well as in Tissue Engineered Medical Products (TEMPs) by high-resolution proton NMR (1H NMR). A guide for the characterization of chitosan salts has been published as Guide F2103.

    1.2 The test method is applicable for determining the degree of deacetylation (% DA) of chitosan chloride and chitosan glutamate salts and is valid for % DA values from 50 up to and including 99. It is simple, rapid, and suitable for routine use. Knowledge of the degree of deacetylation is important for an understanding of the functionality of chitosan salts in TEMP formulations and applications. This test method will assist end users in choosing the correct chitosan for their particular application. Chitosan salts may have utility in drug delivery applications, as a scaffold or matrix material, and in cell and tissue encapsulation applications.

    1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    F386 Test Method for Thickness of Resilient Flooring Materials Having Flat Surfaces

    F2103 Guide for Characterization and Testing of Chitosan Salts as Starting Materials Intended for Use in Biomedical and Tissue-Engineered Medical Product Applications

    European Pharmacopoeia Document

    EuropeanPharmacopoei Chitosan Chloride Available from European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM), Publications and Services, European Pharmacopoeia, BP 907, F-67029 Strasbourg, France.

    United States Pharmacopeia Document

    USP35-NF30<761> Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Available from U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), 12601 Twinbrook Pkwy., Rockville, MD 20852-1790, http://www.usp.org.


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 11.120.20 (Wound dressings. Compresses); 71.040.50 (Physicochemical methods of analysis)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/F2260-03R12E01

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