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Vegetable and Bacterial Cellulose

Vegetable Cellulose

Cellulose is considered one of the most abundant biomaterials in the world, being possible to find it in plants, as an essential component of the cell wall. Although cellulose is present in almost all plants, cotton and wood pulp remain the most important sources, due to their richness in cellulose.

During the last two decades, the production of this polymer has been gradually increasing, exceeding, in 2016, one hundred billion tons per year.

Cellulose is widely used in different industrial fields such as paper and textile production. Furthermore, some of the cellulose derivatives are applied in pharmaceutical applications as stabilizers and thickening agents and in biotechnology for protein immobilization.

Another way to produce cellulose is by using bacteria and fungi.



Bacterial Cellulose (BC) is a natural polymer that has many important characteristics such as high affinity for water, viscosity and porosity. These properties allow its use in various fields of human life and also its possible use for novel applications.

Nano Celulosa Bacteriana
Nano Celulosa Bacteriana

The first mention of Bacterial Cellulose (BC) dates back to 1886 in an article published by Brown, who discovered a gelatinous film that covered the entire surface of a medium containing glucose.

After fifty years, Barsha and Hibbert showed that its chemical structure was similar to that of Vegetable Cellulose.

The properties of Bacterial Cellulose (BC) are considered more favorable than those of plant counterpart.

It has the ability to retain moisture in the proportion of 309g of water per gram of dry weight, withstands temperatures of up to 150 ℃ when untreated, and after chemical treatment it can withstand around 275 ℃ [21], which allows the material to dry without damaging its structure.

At the same time, Bacterial Cellulose (BC) has good resilience, elasticity and plasticity.

Its biocompatibility, high purity and absence of impurities such as Lignin, pectin and hemicelluloses make Bacterial Cellulose (BC) non-toxic and therefore suitable for medical and food use.

Bacterial Cellulose (BC) has the same structure as plant cellulose but its physical properties are different. Furthermore, cellulose synthesized by bacteria is considered more valuable because its characteristics are more suitable for most applications. It has higher water retention, hydrophilicity and porosity.

These properties allow Bacterial Cellulose (BC) to be used as a drug delivery system, wound dressing, tissue engineering agent, and stabilizer.

Bacterial Cellulose (BC) can have different properties. It is also possible to functionalize Bacterial Cellulose (BC) according to the intended application.

In addition, the production of Bacterial Cellulose (BC) is more environmentally friendly compared to the chemical method used to obtain vegetable cellulose, due to the use of carbon disulfide (CS2) and heavy metals.

Despite all the advantages and commercial demand, Bacterial Cellulose (BC) is rarely produced due to the high cost and complexity of standard media.


Applications and Uses of Bacterial Cellulose (BC)

Due to the various natural properties of Bacterial Cellulose (BC), it can be used in many different areas. Such as biomedicine, biotechnology, food production, the textile industry and machinery.

Some possible applications of Bacterial Cellulose (BC) are shown in the following Figure

Aplicaciones Celulosa Bacteriana
Aplicaciones Nano Celulosa Bacteriana

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