Jump to content

Carboxymethyl cellulose

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Carboxymethyl cellulose
Other names
Carboxymethylcellulose; carmellose; E466
  • none
ECHA InfoCard 100.120.377 Edit this at Wikidata
E number E466 (thickeners, ...)
Molar mass variable
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
☒N verify (what is checkY☒N ?)

Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) or cellulose gum[1] is a cellulose derivative with carboxymethyl groups (-CH2-COOH) bound to some of the hydroxyl groups of the glucopyranose monomers that make up the cellulose backbone. It is often used in its sodium salt form, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose. It used to be marketed under the name Tylose, a registered trademark of SE Tylose.[2]


Carboxymethyl cellulose is synthesized by the alkali-catalyzed reaction of cellulose with chloroacetic acid.[3] The polar (organic acid) carboxyl groups render the cellulose soluble and chemically reactive.[4] Fabrics made of cellulose–e.g., cotton or viscose rayon—may also be converted into CMC.[5]

Following the initial reaction, the resultant mixture produces approximately 60% CMC and 40% salts (sodium chloride and sodium glycolate). This product, called technical CMC, is used in detergents.[citation needed] An additional purification process is used to remove salts to produce pure CMC, which is used for food and pharmaceutical applications.[citation needed] An intermediate "semi-purified" grade is also produced, which is typically used in paper applications such as the restoration of archival documents.[citation needed]

Structure and properties[edit]


CMC is a derivative of the regenerated cellulose [C6H10O5]n with hydroxy-acetic acid (hydroxy ethanoic acid) CH2(OH)COOH or sodium monochloroacetate ClCH2COONa. The CMC backbone consists of D-glucose residues linked by -1,4-linkage. It has carboxymethyl groups (-CH2-COOH) bound to some of the hydroxyl groups of the glucopyranose monomers that make up the cellulose backbone. It is often used as its sodium salt, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose.[6]


CMC is a white or lightly yellow powder with no odor, no flavor, and no poisonous properties. It is hygroscopic and dissolves well in either hot or cold water, forming a viscous solution. It is not soluble in organic solvents like methanol, ethanol, acetone,chloroform, benzene, etc. The functional properties of CMC depend on the degree of substitution of the cellulose structure (i.e., how many of the hydroxyl groups have been converted to carboxymethylene groups in the substitution reaction), as well as the chain length of the cellulose backbone structure and the degree of clustering of the carboxymethyl substituents. It is commonly used as a viscosity modifier or thickener, and to stabilize emulsions in various products, both food and non-food-related. It is used primarily because it has a high viscosity, is nontoxic, and is generally considered to be hypoallergenic.[6]



Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) is used in applications ranging from food production to medical treatments.[7] It is commonly used as a viscosity modifier or thickener and to stabilize emulsions in both food and non-food products. It is used primarily because it has high viscosity, is nontoxic, and is generally considered to be hypoallergenic, as the major source fiber is either softwood pulp or cotton linter. It is also used in non-food products which include products such as toothpaste, laxatives, diet pills, water-based paints, detergents, textile sizing, reusable heat packs, various paper products, filtration materials, synthetic membranes, wound healing applications, and also in leather crafting to help burnish edges.[8][9][10][verification needed]

Food science[edit]

CMC is registered as E466 or E469 (when it is enzymatically hydrolyzed). It is used for a viscosity modifier or thickener and to stabilize emulsions in various products, including ice cream, mayonnaise, and beverages. It is also used extensively in gluten-free and reduced-fat food products.[11]

CMC's variable viscosity (high while cold, and low while hot) makes it useful in the preparation of cold foods and textures in beverages and edible gels. With a DS around 1.0, it can prevent dehydration and shrinkage of gelatin while also contributing to a more airy structure. In some foods, it can be used to control oil and moisture content.[12]

CMC is used to achieve tartrate or cold stability in wine, which can prevent excess energy usage while chilling wine in warm climates. It is more stable than metatartaric acid and is very effective in inhibiting tartrate precipitation. It is reported that KHT crystals, in the presence of CMC, grow slower and change their morphology.[13][non-primary source needed][14][15][better source needed] Their shape becomes flatter because they lose 2 of the 7 faces, changing their dimensions. CMC molecules, negatively charged at wine pH, interact with the electropositive surface of the crystals, where potassium ions are accumulated. The slower growth of the crystals and the modification of their shape are caused by the competition between CMC molecules and bitartrate ions for binding to the KHT crystals.[16][15][full citation needed]

Food fraud[edit]

  • Shrimp and prawns: CMC injections have been used to fraudulently increase the weight and visual appeal.

Detergent uses[edit]

CMC is a common ingredient in cleaning products because of its thickening and stabilizing properties and nontoxic composition. In detergent and cleaning products, it can be used to enhance texture and assist in the suspension of dirt and grime in the cleaning product. Its adjustable viscosity can be used to standardize the textures of the products, especially when used along with other chemicals.

CMC helps with the removal of grease and aids in the creation of small bubbles in the soap. This, along with its ability to suspend dirt in mixtures, can make soaps and other cleaning products more efficient.[17]

Textile uses[edit]

CMC is used in textiles as a thickening agent in textile printing, constituting about 2-3% of printing pastes. It is also used in fabric finishing to affect the fabric's texture. Additionally, CMC serves as a binding agent in non-woven fabrics, contributing to the strength and stability of the material. In sizing applications, about 1-3% of CMC is used to protect yarns during weaving to reduce breakages.

CMC aids in thickening printing pastes, which makes the prints themself more precise. It is also used to thicken dyes. Additionally, it is an alternative to synthetic thickeners.[18]

Cosmetics uses[edit]

CMC is an ingredient used in over 50% of cosmetic products. As a thickening agent, it is used in formulations where viscosity needs to be precisely controlled. In hair care, about 25% of shampoos and conditioners utilize CMC for its conditioning and detangling effects. It is also used in the makeup and toothpaste industries to control the products' texture. Due to its ability to retain moisture, it is also used in skincare products. CMC serves as a film-forming agent in approximately 10% of sunscreens.

CMC aids in pigment suspension and dispersion, binding other ingredients for even distribution. CMC, when combined with Fatty Acid Ethanolamine or 2,2'-Iminodiethanol in a hair product, can form a thin film around the hair.[19]

Specific culinary uses[edit]

CMC powder is widely used in the ice cream industry, to make ice creams without churning or extremely low temperatures, thereby eliminating the need for conventional churners or salt ice mixes.[20] CMC is used in baking breads and cakes. The use of CMC gives the loaf an improved quality at a reduced cost, by reducing the need for fat. CMC is also used as an emulsifier in biscuits. Dispersing fat uniformly in the dough, improves the release of the dough from the molds and cutters, achieving well-shaped biscuits without any distorted edges. It can also help to reduce the amount of egg yolk or fat used in making the biscuits. The use of CMC in candy preparation ensures smooth dispersion in flavor oils and improves texture and quality. CMC is used in chewing gums, margarine, and peanut butter as an emulsifier.[21]

Medical applications[edit]

CMC is also used in numerous medical applications.[22][23][24][25]

Some examples include:

  1. Device for epistaxis (nose bleeding). A poly-vinyl chloride (PVC) balloon is covered by CMC knitted fabric reinforced by nylon. The device is soaked in water to form a gel, which is inserted into the nose of the balloon and inflated. The combination of the inflated balloon and the therapeutic effect of the CMC stops the bleeding.[citation needed]
  2. Fabric used as a dressing following ear nose and throat surgical procedures.[citation needed]
  3. Water is added to form a gel, and this gel is inserted into the sinus cavity following surgery.[citation needed]

In ophthalmology, CMC is used as a lubricating agent in artificial tears solutions for the treatment of dry eyes.[26]

In veterinary medicine, CMC is used in abdominal surgeries in large animals, particularly horses, to prevent the formation of bowel adhesions. [citation needed]

Research applications[edit]

Insoluble CMC (water-insoluble) can be used in the purification of proteins, particularly in the form of charged filtration membranes or as granules in cation-exchange resins for ion-exchange chromatography.[27] Its low solubility is a result of a lower DS value (the number of carboxymethyl groups per anhydroglucose unit in the cellulose chain) compared to soluble CMC.[28] Insoluble CMC offers physical properties similar to insoluble cellulose, while the negatively charged carboxylate groups allow it to bind to positively charged proteins.[29] Insoluble CMC can also be chemically cross-linked to enhance the mechanical strength of the material.[30]

Moreover, CMC has been used extensively to characterize enzyme activity from endoglucanases (part of the cellulase complex); it is a highly specific substrate for endo-acting cellulases, as its structure has been engineered to decrystallize cellulose and create amorphous sites that are ideal for endoglucanase action.[citation needed] CMC is desirable because the catalysis product (glucose) is easily measured using a reducing sugar assay, such as 3,5-dinitrosalicylic acid.[citation needed] Using CMC in enzyme assays is especially important in screening for cellulase enzymes that are needed for more efficient cellulosic ethanol conversion.[citation needed] CMC was misused in early work with cellulase enzymes, as many had associated whole cellulase activity with CMC hydrolysis.[according to whom?] As the mechanism of cellulose depolymerization became better understood, it became clear that exo-cellulases are dominant in the degradation of crystalline (e.g. Avicel) and not soluble (e.g. CMC) cellulose.[citation needed]

Other uses[edit]

In laundry detergents, it is used as a soil suspension polymer designed to deposit onto cotton and other cellulosic fabrics, creating a negatively charged barrier to soils in the wash solution.[citation needed] CMC is also used as a thickening agent, for example, in the oil-drilling industry as an ingredient of drilling mud, where it acts as a viscosity modifier and water retention agent.[citation needed]

CMC is sometimes used as an electrode binder in advanced battery applications (i.e. lithium ion batteries), especially with graphite anodes.[31] CMC's water solubility allows for less toxic and costly processing than with non-water-soluble binders, like the traditional polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), which requires toxic n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) for processing.[citation needed] CMC is often used in conjunction with styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) for electrodes requiring extra flexibility, e.g. for use with silicon-containing anodes.[32]

CMC is also used in ice packs to form a eutectic mixture resulting in a lower freezing point, and therefore more cooling capacity than ice.[33]

Aqueous solutions of CMC have also been used to disperse carbon nanotubes, where the long CMC molecules are thought to wrap around the nanotubes, allowing them to be dispersed in water.[citation needed]

In conservation-restoration, it is used as an adhesive or fixative (commercial name Walocel, Klucel).[citation needed]

Adverse reactions[edit]

Effects on inflammation, microbiota-related metabolic syndrome, and colitis are a subject of research.[34] Carboxymethyl cellulose is suggested as a possible cause of inflammation of the gut, through alteration of the human gastrointestinal microbiota, and has been suggested as a triggering factor in inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.[35][non-primary source needed]

While thought to be uncommon, case reports of severe reactions to CMC exist.[36] Skin testing is believed to be a useful diagnostic tool for this purpose.[37] CMC was the active ingredient in an eye drop brand Ezricare Artificial Tears which was recalled due to potential bacterial contamination.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Codex Alimentarius Commission (2016). "Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (Cellulose gum)". GFSA Online. FAO. Archived from the original on 2017-09-12. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  2. ^ "Products – SE Tylose". www.setulose.com. Retrieved 2022-11-17.
  3. ^ Hollabaugh, C. B.; Burt, Leland H.; Walsh, Anna Peterson (October 1945). "Carboxymethylcellulose. Uses and Applications". Industrial & Engineering Chemistry. 37 (10): 943–947. doi:10.1021/ie50430a015.
  4. ^ "CMC Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose" (PDF). colonygums.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 April 2023. Retrieved 19 May 2023.
  5. ^ Wu, Jiamin; Feng, Zhaoxue; Dong, Chaohong; Zhu, Ping; Qiu, Jianhui; Zhu, Longxiang (2022-03-29). "Synthesis of Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose/Poly(acrylic acid) Microgels via Visible-Light-Triggered Polymerization as a Self-Sedimentary Cationic Basic Dye Adsorbent". Langmuir. 38 (12): 3711–3719. doi:10.1021/acs.Langmuir.1c03196. ISSN 0743-7463. PMID 35290066. Archived from the original on 2023-11-02. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  6. ^ a b Ergun, R.; Guo, J.; Huebner-Keese, B. (2016). "Cellulose". Encyclopedia of Food and Health: 694–702. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-384947-2.00127-6. ISBN 9780123849533.
  7. ^ Rahman, Md Saifur; Hasan, Md Saif; Nitai, Ashis Sutradhar; Nam, Sunghyun; Karmakar, Aneek Krishna; Ahsan, Md Shameem; Shiddiky, Muhammad J. A.; Ahmed, Mohammad Boshir (2021). "Recent Developments of Carboxymethyl Cellulose". Polymers. 13 (8): 1345. doi:10.3390/polym13081345. ISSN 2073-4360. PMC 8074295. PMID 33924089.
  8. ^ "CP Kelco Cellulose Gum / Carboxymethyl Cellulose". Archived from the original on 2013-08-24. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  9. ^ "Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose – The Ideal Hydrocolloid for Bakery & Dough Products" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-26.
  10. ^ Tudoroiu, Elena-Emilia; Dinu-Pîrvu, Cristina-Elena; Albu Kaya, Mădălina Georgiana; Popa, Lăcrămioara; Anuța, Valentina; Prisada, Răzvan Mihai; Ghica, Mihaela Violeta (2021). "An Overview of Cellulose Derivatives-Based Dressings for Wound-Healing Management". Pharmaceuticals. 14 (12): 1215. doi:10.3390/ph14121215. ISSN 1424-8247. PMC 8706040. PMID 34959615.
  11. ^ Stanford, John (January 2012). "Food Processing Technologies for Reduction of Fat in Products" (PDF). Food & Health Innovation Service. Scotland Food & Drink. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-23.
  13. ^ Gerbaud, Vincent (18 October 1996). Determination de l'etat de supersaturation et effet des polysaccharides sur la crystallization du bitartrate de potassium dans les vins [Determination of the state of supersaturation and effect of polysaccharides on the crystallization of potassium bitartrate in wines] (PDF) (Ph.D.) (in French). Institut National Polytechnique de Talouse. Docket 961NP1030G. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2017-05-07.
  14. ^ Gerbaud, Vincent; Gabas, Nadine; Blouin, Jacques; Crachereau, Jean-Christophe (2010-12-31). "Study of wine tartaric acid salt stabilization by addition of carboxymethylcellulose (CMC): comparison with the « protective colloids » effect". OENO One. 44 (4): 231. doi:10.20870/oeno-one.2010.44.4.1474. ISSN 2494-1271.
  15. ^ a b Bajul, Audrey; Gerbaud, Vincent; Teychene, Sébastien; Devatine, Audrey; Bajul, Gilles (2017-08-15). "Effect of carboxymethylcellulose on potassium bitartrate crystallization on model solution and white wine". Journal of Crystal Growth. Industrial Crystallization and Precipitation in France (CRISTAL-8), May 2016, Rouen (France). 472: 54–63. Bibcode:2017JCrGr.472...54B. doi:10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2017.03.024. ISSN 0022-0248.
  16. ^ Cracherau et al. 2001.[full citation needed]
  20. ^ Bahramparvar, Maryam; Mazaheri Tehrani, Mostafa (October 2011). "Application and Functions of Stabilizers in Ice Cream". Food Reviews International. 27 (4): 389–407. doi:10.1080/87559129.2011.563399. S2CID 43187328.
  21. ^ "C.m.c. Glossary – Recipes with C.m.c. - Tarladalal.com". Archived from the original on 15 December 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  22. ^ Rahman, Md Saifur; Hasan, Md Saif; Nitai, Ashis Sutradhar; Nam, Sunghyun; Karmakar, Aneek Krishna; Ahsan, Md Shameem; Shiddiky, Muhammad J. A.; Ahmed, Mohammad Boshir (2021). "Recent Developments of Carboxymethyl Cellulose". Polymers. 13 (8): 1345. doi:10.3390/polym13081345. ISSN 2073-4360. PMC 8074295. PMID 33924089.
  23. ^ Tudoroiu, Elena-Emilia; Dinu-Pîrvu, Cristina-Elena; Albu Kaya, Mădălina Georgiana; Popa, Lăcrămioara; Anuța, Valentina; Prisada, Răzvan Mihai; Ghica, Mihaela Violeta (2021). "An Overview of Cellulose Derivatives-Based Dressings for Wound-Healing Management". Pharmaceuticals. 14 (12): 1215. doi:10.3390/ph14121215. ISSN 1424-8247. PMC 8706040. PMID 34959615.
  24. ^ Zennifer, Allen; Senthilvelan, Praseetha; Sethuraman, Swaminathan; Sundaramurthi, Dhakshinamoorthy (2021-03-15). "Key advances of carboxymethyl cellulose in tissue engineering & 3D bioprinting applications". Carbohydrate Polymers. 256: 117561. doi:10.1016/j.carbpol.2020.117561. ISSN 0144-8617. PMID 33483063. S2CID 231689461. Archived from the original on 2023-11-09. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  25. ^ Ciolacu, Diana Elena; Nicu, Raluca; Ciolacu, Florin (2020). "Cellulose-Based Hydrogels as Sustained Drug-Delivery Systems". Materials. 13 (22): 5270. Bibcode:2020Mate...13.5270C. doi:10.3390/ma13225270. ISSN 1996-1944. PMC 7700533. PMID 33233413.
  26. ^ "Carboxymethylcellulose: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings". Drugs.com. Archived from the original on 2023-08-10. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  27. ^ "Whatman Filters & Sample Collection". Archived from the original on 2 May 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  28. ^ Wang, Mengying; Jia, Xiangxiang; Liu, Wanshuang; Lin, Xiaobo (2021-03-01). "Water insoluble and flexible transparent film based on carboxymethyl cellulose". Carbohydrate Polymers. 255: 117353. doi:10.1016/j.carbpol.2020.117353. ISSN 0144-8617. PMID 33436193. S2CID 228813982. Archived from the original on 2023-11-09. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  29. ^ Lopez, Carlos G.; Colby, Ralph H.; Cabral, João T. (2018-04-24). "Electrostatic and Hydrophobic Interactions in NaCMC Aqueous Solutions: Effect of Degree of Substitution". Macromolecules. 51 (8): 3165–3175. Bibcode:2018MaMol..51.3165L. doi:10.1021/acs.macromol.8b00178. hdl:10044/1/58673. ISSN 0024-9297.
  30. ^ Nakayama, Ryo-ichi; Yano, Tomoya; Namiki, Norikazu; Imai, Masanao (2019-11-01). "Highly Size-Selective Water-Insoluble Cross-Linked Carboxymethyl Cellulose Membranes". Journal of Polymers and the Environment. 27 (11): 2439–2444. doi:10.1007/s10924-019-01532-w. ISSN 1572-8919. S2CID 199474275. Archived from the original on 2023-11-09. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  31. ^ Park, Jeong Hoon; Kim, Sun Hyung; Ahn, Kyung Hyun (2023-05-05). "Role of carboxymethyl cellulose binder and its effect on the preparation process of anode slurries for Li-ion batteries". Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects. 664: 131130. doi:10.1016/j.colsurfa.2023.131130. ISSN 0927-7757. S2CID 256917952. Archived from the original on 2023-11-09. Retrieved 2023-08-09.
  32. ^ [1] Archived 2017-12-04 at the Wayback Machine Applications of sodium carboxymethyl cellulose As a Binder In Batteries
  33. ^ "Use in ice packs". Archived from the original on July 8, 2011.
  34. ^ Healy, Melissa (2015-02-25). "Is common food additive to blame for rising rates of bowel disease?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2017-07-12. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  35. ^ Martino, John Vincent; Van Limbergen, Johan; Cahill, Leah E. (1 May 2017). "The Role of Carrageenan and Carboxymethylcellulose in the Development of Intestinal Inflammation". Frontiers in Pediatrics. 5: 96. doi:10.3389/fped.2017.00096. PMC 5410598. PMID 28507982.
  36. ^ Chassaing, Benoit; Compher, Charlene; Bonhomme, Brittaney; Liu, Qing; Tian, Yuan; Walters, William; Nessel, Lisa; Delaroque, Clara; Hao, Fuhua; Gershuni, Victoria; Chau, Lillian; Ni, Josephine; Bewtra, Meenakshi; Albenberg, Lindsey; Bretin, Alexis; McKeever, Liam; Ley, Ruth E.; Patterson, Andrew D.; Wu, Gary D.; Gewirtz, Andrew T.; Lewis, James D. (11 November 2021). "Randomized Controlled-Feeding Study of Dietary Emulsifier Carboxymethylcellulose Reveals Detrimental Impacts on the Gut Microbiota and Metabolome". Gastroenterology. 162 (3): 743–756. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2021.11.006. PMC 9639366. PMID 34774538.
  37. ^ Lieberman, Phil. "Anaphylaxis to carboxymethylcellulose". American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Archived from the original on 2017-07-12. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  38. ^ "Drug regulatory body takes eye drop samples from pharma firm linked to US deaths". 4 February 2023. Archived from the original on 5 April 2023. Retrieved 5 April 2023.

External links[edit]