Nutraceutical Knowledge

Cellulose Powder Manufacturing Process

Cellulose Powder Manufacturing Process

Fiber is a very important part of the diet, it plays a huge role in a healthy digestive system and a healthy digestive process. In addition to that, a high fiber diet is linked to better heart health.

The recommendation for adults by the U.S Department of Agriculture for fiber consumption is 25 grams per day for women and 30 grams per day for men. Studies show though that the average American only consumes about half of the recommended amount through diet though. And so the rest needs to be met with supplements.


You will find fiber supplements on the market in a number of forms including cellulose powder. These supplements help persons to increase their fiber intake to required amounts easily. This can lead to the relief of digestive discomfort brought about by constipation and can promote bowel regularity.

Fiber supplements can also help with weight loss as they help to manage one’s weight by making one feel fuller longer. They thus can help with curbing cravings and also decreasing the need to graze on food throughout the day.

Cellulose Powder Uses

Cellulose powder is an insoluble fiber that comes from plants. It helps to regulate the digestive system by adding bulk to the stool. This helps the stool to move through the digestive system a bit quicker and thereby will relieve constipation.

Outside of cellulose powder you will find the ingredient “cellulose” in quite a bit of vitamins. While it is good for the digestive system, cellulose also helps make your pills easier to bottle and also easier to swallow.

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Cellulose is used in pills to bind minerals and vitamins together and ensure they stay in a solid form. This is because vitamins and minerals are in small quantities except for calcium and would not be able to make the pill large enough without the addition of cellulose as the filler.

The amount of cellulose found in vitamin tablets is very small though with most pills providing less than a gram. So consumers won’t be able to get their fiber supplementation just from a multivitamin.

Benefits of Cellulose Powder

  • Regulates digestive tract
  • Binds cholesterol and toxins
  • Stabilizes blood sugar

What is Cellulose?

Cellulose is a substance that makes up a significant amount of a plant’s cell wall. Being made by all plants, cellulose is one of the single most available organic compounds on the planet. Cellulose is very versatile and can be used for a variety of things dependent on how it’s treated. It is used in the supplement industry as a filler among other things.

Cellulose is a complex carbohydrate – these carbohydrates are organic compounds that are made up of carbon molecules, hydrogen molecules and oxygen molecules. The function of a carbohydrate is to provide living things with energy. Glucose is the simplest form of carbohydrate and plants use glucose to make cellulose.

This is done by linking many glucose units together to form a long chain called a polysaccharide. This is why cellulose is insoluble and will not easily dissolve in water.

Their molecules form a criss-cross mesh that provides the cell wall with its shape and strength. It is the main building material for the plant since its fibers are tough and provide the plant with the strength necessary for their stems, roots and leaves.

As such cellulose is very important since plants are the first link in the food chain and they are made with significant amounts of cellulose.

The Manufacturing Process

 

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The manufacture of cellulose powder can be broken down into two processes acetylation and hydrolysis.

The first step of the process is esterification. For this chemical process to take place, cellulose, sulfuric acid and acetic acid are placed together. The addition of sulfuric acid causes the reaction to begin at a rapid pace and this can be left out of the equation.

The acetylation process is comparatively slower than the esterification process.  The above mentioned compounds are placed into a reactor where they are mixed. The mixing activates the cellulose sheets and breaks them down into fibers. After this process completes then acetic anhydride is added to initiate the process of acetylation.

When the reaction is complete you will now have a solution of cellulose triacetate in acetic acid. Subsequently hydrolysis takes place and so the solution becomes mixed with water. This mixture usually is done in a different hydrolysis tank. In this tank you will have some of the acetylation reversed. At this stage of the manufacturing process this particular reaction is allowed to continue. The continuation of this reaction yields cellulose-2-5acetate which is dissolved in acetic acid.

To get cellulose-2-5acetate to precipitate, the above solution is then diluted with water. This causes the compound to form into flakes. These flakes are very porous and as such each flake is highly saturated with the acetic acid compound. After this the flakes go through an intensive washing process to get the acid removed by water.

The next step is to run these flakes through a roller press to get rid of water. The flakes are then further derived by a hot air dryer before they are ready to use.

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