A magic ingredient is what Microcrystalline Cellulose is! We call it a magic ingredient because one product can work in many ways, as an emulsifier, an anti-caking agent, a texturizer, a fat substitute, an extender and as a bulking agent in food production. The most common use of Microcrystalline Cellulose is in tablets and vitamin supplements. Microcrystalline cellulose, or MCC, is a granular powder product that is in a size of about 10μm.

Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCC) is a non-fibrous microparticle powder. It does not get dissolved in water, dilute acids and most organic solvents, but it is slightly soluble in 20% alkali solution.

How is Microcrystalline Cellulose Obtained?

Microcrystalline Cellulose is a very resourceful excipient in the pharmaceutical industry. It is refined wood pulp (C6H10O5)n. Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) is prepared from local agricultural residues, namely, rice straw, bagasse and cotton stalks bleached pulps. Hydrolysis of the bleached pulps is carried out using sulphuric acid or hydrochloric acid. When the natural cellulose is hydrolysed in an acidic medium we obtain microcrystalline cellulose, which also makes the molecular weight reduced to a certain range. The final product is a white, free-flowing powder which is chemically inert in nature and does not get degraded during digestion, it has no significant absorption. If used in large quantities, it can provide dietary bulk and may lead to a laxative effect.

Uses of MCC

  • Microcrystalline cellulose has a wide range of uses in the pharmaceutical excipients which can be directly used for tab-letting of dry powder because of it disintegrate and lubricant properties. It is broadly used as anti-sticking agents, flow aids, capsule diluents, fillers, lubricant, binder, disintegrating agents, and adsorbents besides being a secondary suspending agent and stability enhancer.
  • It can be used in direct compression of majority drugs, it saves material, equipment, capital and definitely labor. Its ever escalating applications in drug research include its utility in sustained release dosage forms, immediate release (tablets and liquids) dosage forms, topical preparations, oral liquids, anti-reß ux, organoleptic enhancements as in chewable and mouth dissolving tablets and nutraceuticals.
  • It is used in the food industry because it is a tasteless and odourless crystalline powder.MCC acts as a significant base material in functional foods; it is also an ideal health food additive.
  • In the paint industry, Microcrystalline Cellulose is used for thickening and emulsifying water-based coatings by using its thixotropic and thickening properties.

The Microcrystalline Cellulose is a very valuable chemical addition in pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic and other industries and this is possible because of the varied properties of MCC. Growth in consumption of processed foods across the globe majorly drives the microcrystalline cellulose market. According to a recent report published by Allied Market Research, the global microcrystalline cellulose market accounted for revenue of $937 million in 2017 and is anticipated to generate $1,451 million in 2025. MCC has an appropriate particle size, density, powder porosity, angle of repose, compressibility index, hydration swelling capacity, moisture content, moisture absorption capacity, crystalline index, crystallite size, and mechanical characteristics such as hardness and tensile strength.