Antimicrobial Activity of Chitosan Oligosaccharides with Special Attention to Antiparasitic Potential

Nayara Sousa da Silva, Nathália Kelly Araújo, Alessandra Daniele-Silva, Johny Wysllas de Freitas Oliveira, Júlia Maria de Medeiros, Renata Mendonça Araújo, Leandro De Santis Ferreira, Hugo Alexandre Oliveira Rocha, Arnóbio Antônio Silva-Junior, Marcelo Sousa Silva, Matheus de Freitas Fernandes-Pedrosa

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The global rise of infectious disease outbreaks and the progression of microbial resistance reinforce the importance of researching new biomolecules. Obtained from the hydrolysis of chitosan, chitooligosaccharides (COSs) have demonstrated several biological properties, including antimicrobial, and greater advantage over chitosan due to their higher solubility and lower viscosity. Despite the evidence of the biotechnological potential of COSs, their effects on trypanosomatids are still scarce. The objectives of this study were the enzymatic production, characterization, and in vitro evaluation of the cytotoxic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic effects of COSs. NMR and mass spectrometry analyses indicated the presence of a mixture with 81% deacetylated COS and acetylated hexamers. COSs demonstrated no evidence of cytotoxicity upon 2 mg/mL. In addition, COSs showed interesting activity against bacteria and yeasts and a time-dependent parasitic inhibition. Scanning electron microscopy images indicated a parasite aggregation ability of COSs. Thus, the broad biological effect of COSs makes them a promising molecule for the biomedical industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2021


  • antiprotozoal
  • chitooligosaccharides
  • neglected tropical disease
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Chagas disease
  • chitosan
  • chitin


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