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Chitosan (typically combined with kieselsol aka silicasol aka colloidal silica - think "Turbo Clear" and similar home distilling products) is an effective fining agent for sugar washes, wines, ciders and what not. It flocks out yeast from a sugar wash like nobody's business and doesn't need to bind to the tannins found in beers and wines (as opposed to, say, gelatin) which makes it eminently suitable for sugar washes.

Chitosan is produced cheaply from waste products of the fish industry, such as shrimp shells, squid pens and the like. Mainly due to allergy concerns (a shellfish allergy is no joke), compliance with regulations in various countries and to appeal to vegans, chitosan produced from fungi has become increasingly common, even though it tends to be considerably more expensive.

However, I am wondering if both chitosan varieties are sufficiently similar (chemically, biologically, structurally etc.) to perform identically. Is one better than the other? If so, why? Or is there no difference?

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Interesting. I'm not that kind of scientist but I was curious so dug a little.

I found this link about the particular product- and it does have a pretty thorough technical data sheet with compound data. It appears it forms a normal chitosan compound, it's simply derived differently.

If you're based in the UK, you might actually be able to get a hold of this stuff somehow. The labels mentions it's a fungicide- but the tech sheet specifically mentions its use of a fining in brewing.

Realistically I'm not sure how it could function "better" than chitosan. Not in a chemical sense, but in a functional brewing since. If you're already using chito+kieselsol- I'm not sure how you could get your beer clearer, faster. That is, if you can't visually discern the difference in "clarity" between two beers without a microscope I'd consider that equal quality.

A technical difference here would probably not come into play until you're dealing with really, really, really massive brewing system and it affects how you calibrate your filter plates.

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