Uses of Methyl Cellulose


Methyl cellulose is a cellulose-derived chemical compound. It is marketed under several brand names and is used as a thickener and emulsifier in a variety of food and cosmetic products, as well as a bulk-forming laxative. It, like cellulose, is not digestible, toxic, or allergenic. Checkout methyl cellulose malaysia here.

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Methyl cellulose has a wide range of uses which are:

  1. Constipation
  • Constipation is treated with methyl cellulose. Generally, the effects are felt within three days. It is taken by mouth and should be taken with plenty of water. Abdominal pain is one of the possible side effects. It is classified as a laxative that forms bulk. It improves intestinal contractions by increasing the amount of stool present.
  1. Artificial tears and saliva
  • The lubricating ability of methylcellulose is especially beneficial in the treatment of dry eyes.  If the natural production of tears or saliva is disrupted, solutions containing methyl cellulose or similar cellulose derivatives are used as a substitute.
  1. Medication manufacturing
  • Methyl cellulose is used to make drug capsules; its edible and nontoxic properties make it a vegetarian alternative to gelatin.

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  1. Thickener and emulsifier
  • To achieve the characteristic thick consistency of hair shampoos, tooth pastes, and liquid soaps, methyl cellulose is occasionally added. This is also done with foods, such as ice cream or croquettes. Because it is an emulsion stabilizer, methyl cellulose is an important emulsifier that prevents the separation of two mixed liquids.
  • To prevent paint sagging, methyl cellulose is also used as a rheological modifier in paint.
  1. Food
  • As a food additive, methyl cellulose has the E number E461. E464 is hydroxypropyl cellulose, which is more water soluble. 
  • As a gel, methyl cellulose has the unusual property of setting when hot and melting when cold.
  • Methyl cellulose is an ingredient in some meat analogues designed to mimic the texture of meat.

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  1. Construction materials
  • Methyl cellulose is widely used as a performance additive in building materials. It is added to dry mortar mixes to improve properties such as workability, open and adjustment time, water retention, viscosity, surface adhesion, and so on. Because it may be cross-linked with glyoxal for easy dispersion in water, construction grade methylcellulose should not be confused with food and pharmaceutical grade methylcellulose and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose.
  • Construction materials can be made of cement or gypsum. Tile adhesives, EIFS, insulating plasters, hand-trowelled and machine-sprayed plaster, stucco, self-levelling flooring, extruded cement panels, skim coats, joint & crack fillers, and tile grouts are some examples of dry mixture mortars that use methyl cellulose. Typically, 0.2 percent to 0.5 percent of total dry powder weight is used.
  • Among the methyl cellulose derivatives that improve performance characteristics are hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (HPMC) and hydroxyethyl methyl cellulose (HEMC) (HEMC). These derivatives typically improve properties like water retention, vertical surface slip resistance, open time, and so on.
  1. Cell culture
  • In cell culture, methyl cellulose is also used to study viral replication. It is dissolved in the same nutrient-rich medium that cells normally grow in. A single layer of cells is grown on a flat surface and then infected for a short period of time with a virus. The number of cells infected during this time will be determined by the strength of the viral sample used. In place of the normal liquid medium, the thick methylcellulose medium is then placed on top of the cells. When viruses replicate in infected cells, they can spread between cells whose membranes touch, but they become trapped when they enter the methyl cellulose. Only cells that are close to an infected cell will become infected and die.