Skip to content

2020 Finalist – Looking Close at Methylcellulose

  • by

Okay class for today’s lesson i asked everyone to bring something that has methyl cellulose in it let’s start over here i brought a face wash i brought these fiber capsules they help me poop i brought this bag of cement where did you even get that i brought plant-based meat but i feel weird eating this now that i know the same ingredient is in those other things too

Is it safe this is exactly why we’re looking at methylcellulose today because that’s such a broad range of uses before i answer your question let’s explore why it’s used in so many products first we need to know what is methylcellulose it’s made from cellulose which makes up the structure of plants and is not digestible which means it isn’t absorbed by your body

And just passes through cellulose is also insoluble and doesn’t dissolve in water by treating it with the gas called methyl chloride methylcellulose is produced and the chemical structure is changed so that there are now methyl groups present this is important because it allows methylcellulose to be water soluble another type of methyl cellulose is hydroxypropyl

Methylcellulose which can be made by treating cellulose with both propylene oxide and methylchloride it has a slightly different structure but it’s still water soluble water solubility is key because it allows methyl cellulose to have many uses adding methyl cellulose to liquid increases the viscosity or thickness of the liquid this is why it is added to liquid

Soaps like your face wash shampoo and lotion to give them a thick creamy consistency it is also used as a laxative because it is non-digestible and can pass through the digestive tract in the colon it absorbs large amounts of water to soften and bulk the stool so that you can poop easier it can be used in construction materials like cement because it helps with

Water retention the thick texture and its ability to stick to surfaces and continuing with the theme of viscosity and stickiness it is used in your plant-based burger to bind and hold together the other ingredients for better texture it is also used in emulsions like sauces and salad dressings emulsions are a mixture of two substances that separate if left to sit

Methyl cellulose stabilizes emulsions so that they separate slower methyl cellulose is also special because it forms a gel when heated becoming more solid but changes back as the temperature goes back down this reversible process is called thermogelation this is useful in pastries because it can help keep the liquid inside from boiling out since the filling will

Become thicker and hold its shape better as the pastry is heated so going back to the original question is it safe it is safe but how do i know if we look at the code of federal regulations we can see that methyl cellulose is generally recognized as safe by the fda this means that its safety has been proven scientifically and is based on a long history of safe

Consumption it also means that products are assessed by experts to make sure that methyl cellulose is being used properly and safely this ensures that producers are not putting an excess amount in a food product in addition the harmful effects of methylcellulose that have been found were in a study on rats where they were consuming 26 times more than the average

Adult’s daily dietary intake so even though it’s used in a bunch of products you wouldn’t eat metal cellulose itself is safe so to summarize some important characteristics of methyl cellulose are its indigestibility water solubility its ability to increase viscosity and thermodylation some examples of products is used in are liquid soaps laxatives construction

Materials and foods such as plant-based meat emulsions and filled pastries and it’s generally recognized as safe by the fda that’s all for today and i hope you learned something new about methylcellulose

Transcribed from video
2020 Finalist – Looking Close at Methylcellulose By Institute of Food Technologists – IFT