UNAIR pharmacy researchers find arthritis medicine from crab waste

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – Indonesia is a maritime country with vast seas and abundant biological wealth. Among the crustaceans in the sea ranging from lobster, shrimp and crabs, which if processed into food, 40-50 percent of their total weight will be wasted. The fishery waste, however, can actually be processed again into useful materials in the food, drug, biomedical, and cosmetics industries, such as chitin, chitosan, and glucosamine.

Explained by Prof. Dr. Noor Erma Nasution Sugijanto, Apt., Indonesia is estimated to produce around 56,200 tons of waste containing chitin every year. Until 2019, the pharmaceutical raw materials industry producing glucosamine is still through the process of chitin hydrolysis from shrimp shells, and other means through the chitosan pathway.

“Until now drug raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry in Indonesia ± 95%, are still imported including glucosamine. From 2015 to 2016, imports of glucosamine from India valued at USD 18,403, it is very ironic, because raw materials are abundant in this country, ” she said.

Glucosamine is generally isolated from shrimp shells whose availability in nature is increasingly limited, therefore Prof. Noor conducted a study on the efficient method of isolating glucosamine and could be done with other raw material sources so that later Indonesia could independently meet the supply of medicinal raw materials especially glucosamine. The raw material is mangrove crab ( Scylla paramamosain ) waste .

“Mangrove crabs are high economic value fishery commodities, their production is ± 40% of the total crab production in Indonesia. These mangrove crabs are quite large in number and are used for food, as well as the amount of waste produced, ” she explained.

Prof. Noor explained that crab, shrimp and shellfish waste from restaurants in Indonesia, were used as animal feed. In fact, the product derived from the crustacean shell has economic value because it can be processed into chitin, chitosan and glucosamine.

“Glucosamine is an amino monosaccharide which is a substrate for the production of aggrecan and proteoglycans, has therapeutic activity for osteoarthritis (arthritis), therefore glucosamine is used as a dietary supplement in osteoarthritis therapy, knee pain and back,” she added.

Studying this matter, Prof. Noor optimized the isolation conditions to produce glucosamine HCl from mangrove crab waste as an alternative raw material. The results of the isolation were confirmed by identification using infrared spectrometry (FT-IR), and verification of the analytical methods for qualitative and quantitative tests using HPLC according to glucosamine hydrochloride monograph at USP 41, 2018. And the results of the study stated that mangrove crab waste could potentially be used as more efficient Arthritis medicine ingredients, as it has great availability.

“Through this research, it is expected that mangrove crab waste can be reprocessed into value-added products that have the potential to be developed in the fields of food, cosmetics and medicines, as well as reducing shell waste, which also means improving community environmental conditions in an integrated manner,” she concluded.

Author: Bastian Ragas

Editor: Nuri Hermawan

Details of the research available at :


Astrid Kusuma Putri, Sugijanto Kartosentono, Noor Erma Nasution Sugijanto (2019). Isolation of Glucosamine HCl from Scylla paramamosain and determination by HPLC. Jurnal Teknologi, 81, (5): 1-8

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