Open Access Highly Accessed Original research

Physicochemical, spectroscopic and thermal properties of microcrystalline cellulose derived from corn cobs

Chukwuemeka P Azubuike12* and Augustine O Okhamafe3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, P. M. B 12003, Lagos, Nigeria

2 QUILL, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT9 5AG, UK

3 Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, 30001, Nigeria

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International Journal Of Recycling of Organic Waste in Agriculture 2012, 1:9  doi:10.1186/2251-7715-1-9

Published: 22 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Low-cost and suitable microcrystalline cellulose powders for use in the pharmaceutical industry can be derived from agricultural residues. Most commercial microcrystalline cellulose powders are produced from dissolving pulp obtained from expensive hard woods using concentrated acids. α-Cellulose was extracted from an agricultural residue (corn cob) using a non-dissolving method. The spectroscopic, thermal and physicochemical properties of the derived α-cellulose and microcrystalline cellulose powders were compared with Avicel® PH 101 (Fluka, New South Wales, Australia), a commercial brand of microcrystalline cellulose (MCCA), using standard methods.

Results

X-ray diffraction showed that the microcrystalline cellulose samples obtained from maize cobs had diffraction pattern characteristics of both cellulose I and cellulose II, whereas MCCA had that of cellulose I; however, all the microcrystalline cellulose samples had similar crystallinity index (CI) values. Infrared spectroscopy results showed that the microcrystalline cellulose samples had comparable CI values and molecular structure. Thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry data showed quite similar thermal behaviour for all cellulose samples. Comparison of physicochemical properties of the microcrystalline cellulose powders obtained from maize cob and MCCA mainly suggests that all the celluloses have similar flow and compression properties.

Conclusions

For almost all of the characterizations carried out, it was observed that the microcrystalline cellulose powders obtained from corn cob had similar characteristics to the MCCA, showing that it can be a good low-cost alternative to the expensive commercial brand.

Keywords:
Agricultural residue; Corn cobs; Microcrystalline cellulose; Physicochemical properties; Thermal properties