Composed of N-acetylglucosamine, a natural monosaccharide, chitin forms the outer covering of insects and crustaceans. On this planet, it takes the primary form of layered nanocrystallites; impurities of various sorts contribute to indigenous chitin having a range of colors and degrees of hardness. On Earth, chitin, which can be extracted but takes large quantities of insects or shellfish due to their small size, has been used in food processing and pharmaceuticals, and as a binding agent in dyes, fabrics and adhesives. On this planet, much larger quantities are able to be harvested, since many of the larger lifeforms are insectoid; in addition to its industrial uses noted above chitin is used in colonial settlements for medical purposes and in advanced biomedical research. For example, chitosan is derived from chitin and is a superior biopesticide for transplanted grains and fruits. Applied to seeds, it is a natural growth enhancer, much favored by colonists. Chitosan is also an antihemorrhagic, used by medicos in most settlements, and an ion-exchange resin by biochemists. Larger pieces of chitin, especially from Magna Volucris Esurianti (“raptor bugs”), are prized when used in decorative art and jewelry.