Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC, Cellulose gel, E460(ii), is a subclass of Celluloses (E460). Microcrystalline cellulose is usually produced from refined wood pulp and is used as a texturizer, anti-caking agent, fat substitute, and a bulking agent in food production.
Cellulose is a naturally occurring polymer, composed of glucose units connected by a 1-4 beta glycosidic bond. These linear cellulose chains are bundled together as microfibril spiralled together in the walls of plant cell. Each microfibril exhibits a high degree of three-dimensional internal bonding resulting in a crystalline structure that is insoluble in water and resistant to reagents. The crystalline region is isolated to produce microcrystalline cellulose. Depending on the production method two types can be obtained: powdered MCC or colloidal MCC.
Colloidal MCC is processed by wet mechanical disintegration (attrition) which breaks up the cellulose aggregates to release the microcrystals. Traditionally, the microcrystals are then co-processed with a hydrophilic barrier dispersant, to keep the microcrystals from reaggregating during the drying process. The dispersants used are usually water soluble hydrocolloids such as CMC, alginate, guar gum, xanthan gum or pectin.
Colloidal MCC has specific characteristics which make it a very versatile food ingredient:
Thixotropy – gels made with colloidal MCC readily break down with shear; when the shear is removed, the gel will reform over time with minimal loss in viscosity.
Foam Stability – colloidal MCC is a very good foam stabilizer. The microcrystalline network thickens the water
phase between air cells and acts as a physical barrier to maintain the air cells in suspension. Although colloidal MCC does not have significant film forming properties, it does work to increase the film strength.
Stabilize Emulsions – colloidal MCC forms a 3-dimensional network of particles when properly dispersed in water. This colloidal network sets up at the oil-water interface to physically prevent the oil globules from coalescing. This way the colloidal MCC acts to stabilize the emulsion as well as thicken the water phase.
Acatris offers various types of colloidal MCC, please contact our sales department to find out which grade is most suitable for your application.
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