How much chitin is produced commercially world-wide?
There are many small chitin and chitosan producers in the world, mostly in Asia, but also in South America, and a few elsewhere in the world, but only few larger ones. As most high quality chitin production is dependent on the availability of fresh shrimp or crab shells which cannot be transported over large distances without cooling and, thus, considerable cost, the amount of chitin which can be produced in a single plant is limited. The largest chitin producers probably have a capacity of a few hundred tons of chitin per year but as the chitin and chitosan markets are very confidential ones, no reliable numbers for the global annual commercial chitin production exist. Estimates go as high as several hundred thousands of metric tons per year, but a number of 35 to 40 thousand tons seems more realistic.