Albany, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/03/2014 -- Microcrystalline cellulose is refined and partially de-polymerized wood pulp and is commonly found in the form of a white, freely flowing powder. Microcrystalline cellulose is inert in nature and chemically non-reactive with body fluids. It does not degrade during digestion and has a low absorption quotient. Microcrystalline cellulose is majorly used in foodstuffs to impart dietary bulk and can also be used as a natural laxative. It is prepared by treating alpha-cellulose and is obtained in the form of pulp from fibrous plant material.
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Microcrystalline cellulose finds major applications in the pharmaceutical industry in the form of an excipient. Good compressibility properties exhibited by the substance make it the ideal solution for use in tablets and capsules. Moreover, this substance can be used to manufacture hard tablets that dissolve quickly to release the drug components into the human body. Microcrystalline cellulose performs the same functions as cellulose and at the same time has been approved by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) as a safe substance.
Microcrystalline cellulose is majorly used in the form of an excipient and has therefore found a variety of applications in the medical and healthcare sector. Pharmaceuticals have been the largest end-user segment for microcrystalline cellulose in the past few years. The growing medical and healthcare segment and increased revenues from rising demand for pharmaceuticals have been the most important driving factors for this market in the past. Regulatory associations such as the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention have deemed this substance a safe excipient and this has further helped to boost the market for microcrystalline cellulose globally. Microcrystalline is also used as a bulking agent, disintegrant, binder, lubricant, and glidant besides being a stability enhancer and a secondary suspending agent. Improving medical support and growing ease of availability of pharmaceutical in Africa and Latin America are some of the factors that are likely to boost the market in the coming years.
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North America and Asia Pacific are the major markets in terms of demand for microcrystalline cellulose. Regulatory support, cheap and easy availability and the huge demand for pharmaceuticals in these regions have made them the largest markets for microcrystalline cellulose. Europe has also shown a great demand for this substance and is expected to show favorable growth rates over the coming years. Poor health and safety standards in Latin America and a disorganized structure of medical facilities in the region have restrained the market in the past. However, with improving conditions, the market for microcrystalline cellulose is expected to grow steadily in Latin America in the near future. China and U.S. are the major manufacturers of microcrystalline cellulose with the U.S. exhibiting the larger market share of the two countries.
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Company, Evonik, Abitec Corporation, J.M. Huber Corp., FMC Corp., Cargill, AkzoNobel, Lubrizol, Celanese, Merck, Danisco are some of the key players in the market for microcrystalline cellulose. Other companies such as Eastman, Kraft, Proctor & Gamble, Royal Dutch Shell, Covedien, Nitta Gelatin, Avantor Performance Materials, Associated British Foods, Huntsman, among others, are also major players that either manufacture or use microcrystalline cellulose in their products. The global market thus has a number of players and due to the easy availability of this substance and low threat of substitute materials, the market is open to new entrants in the manufacture of microcrystalline cellulose.
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