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Polysaccharides are a class of biopolymers that have gained popularity in various fields due to their abundance, non-toxicity, biocompatibility and biodegradability. Recently, the applications of polysaccharide nanocrystals have been explored in different areas due to their high mechanical strength, surface functionality and low density. Nanocrystals of cellulose and chitin (the two most abundant biopolymers) have received increasing interest in recent years. Chitin nanocrystals naturally possess cationic groups, whereas cellulose nanocrystals require functionalization to impart a positive charge on their surface. These nanocrystals constitute an emerging group of renewable nanomaterials with improved properties. They contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and help rejuvenate the forestry and marine sectors. The use of these renewable materials in the design of biomedical systems will contribute to sustainable development solutions that have increasingly been given high priority by private and public organizations. In this chapter, the preparation, characterization and application of these nanocrystals in the biomedical field, such as nanocomposites, tissue engineering, wound healing, biosensors and delivery of therapeutics, are reviewed and discussed.

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