The production of shrimp waste from shrimp processing industries has undergone a dramatic increase in recent years. Continued production of this biomaterial without corresponding development of utilizing technology has resulted in waste collection, disposal, and pollution problems. There is a need to treat and utilize the waste in most efficient manner. The shrimp waste contains several bioactive compounds such as chitin, pigments, amino acids, and fatty acids. These bioactive compounds have a wide range of applications including medical, therapies, cosmetics, paper, pulp and textile industries, biotechnology, and food applications. A major fraction of the shrimp waste is protein tissues, which are normally wasted during conventional chitosan preparation. A high quality chitosan for application in cosmetics can be produced from the processing waste of shrimp. Shrimp waste is the most important chitin source for commercial use. Chitin and chitosan are extracted from waste collected from a shrimp processing.
Chitin is a versatile environmentally friendly modern material. It is a naturally occurring high molecular weight linear homology saccharide composed of N-acetyl-D glucosamine residues in α(1-4) linkage. Chitin and chitin derivatives are biodegradable and biocompatible natural polymers that have been used in virtually every significant segment of the economy (e.g. water treatment, pulp and paper industry, biomedical devices and therapies, cosmetics, biotechnology, agriculture, food science and membrane technology). The traditional source of chitin is shellfish waste from shrimp.
The processing waste can be utilized in other products or disposed of as a waste. The type and properties of shell dictate how it can be managed after processing. For example, soft shells are unsuitable for many uses which are relevant to hard shell. Shrimp shells have soft tail shell which may not be suitable for some uses. The main waste management options are categorized according to the waste hierarchy (reduce, reuse, recycle, disposal), see Table.