Abstract Three acyl derivatives of chitosan (CS) with different side chains were synthesized and their structures were characterized. Their swelling behavior was investigated. The antifungal behavior of these chitosan derivatives was investigated in vitro on the mycelial growth, sporulation and germination of conidia or sclerotia of the sugar-beet pathogens, Rhizoctonia solani K”uhn (AG2-2) and Sclerotium rolfsii Sacc. All the prepared derivatives had a significant inhibiting effect on the different stages of development on the germination of conidia or sclerotia of all the investigated fungi. In the absence of chitosan and its derivative, R. solani exhibited the fastest growth of the fungi studied.