Microcrystalline Cellulose from Plant Wastes through Sodium Hydroxide-Anthraquinone-Ethanol Pulping

Olugbenga Oludayo Oluwasina, Labunmi Lajide, Bodunde Owolabi


Microcrystalline cellulose was prepared from wastes of Tithonia diversifolia, inflorescence stems of Musa sapientum, and Musa paradisiaca by soda-anthraquinone–ethanol pulping method. They were bleached by sodium chlorite and then alpha-cellulose was isolated, followed by preparation of microcrystalline cellulose. The study revealed the effect of various processing stages on the properties of the cellulose obtained. Yields of more than 80% of microcrystalline cellulose were obtained. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and solid state 13C Nuclear magnetic resonance (13C NMR) confirmed the presence of the major expected peaks in microcrystalline cellulose. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed that Musa species had short fiber length and mixtures of non-aggregated spherical, rod-shaped and thread like microcrystalline cellulose, but Tithonia diversifolia had aggregate crystal packed formation. The results compared well with those of other authors and were able to meet most of the requirements specified in British Pharmacopoeia. The study revealed that a drug excipient like microcrystalline cellulose that could protect thermo-labile active ingredients could be successfully obtained from abundant non-woody agricultural wastes.


Alpha-cellulose; Bleaching; Instrumental analysis; Microcrystalline cellulose; Musa paradisiaca; Musa sapientum; Pulping; Tithonia diversifolia; Waste

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