August 31, 2010- Carboxymethyl cellulose gum is a derivative of the carboxymethyl groups. It is popularly used as a thickener for a variety of uses. It is used for industrial uses as well as found in household as a food thickener. It is a part of a lot of things that we use on a daily basis. Its E number if E 466 and its uses as a thickener are not restricted to the food industry only. Carboxymethyl cellulose is its scientific name that it gets from its chemical structure. As per the wikipedia definition
“Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) or cellulose gum 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.”
Cellulose Gum Properties
- Cellulose gum has thickening properties that adds texture to a variety of products. It adds viscosity to food and is sticky in nature.
- Mixes easily with hot and cold water.
- In powder for carboxymethyl cellulose is white, fibrous and grainy.
- Human digestive substance is unable to digest carboxymethyl cellulose.
Cellulose Gum Uses
A lot of varieties of cellulose gum is available depending upon the degree of purity. There are varieties of cellulose gum that are crude carboxymethyl cellulose, semi pure or purified cellulose gums. Out of all these varieties only the purest form is considered to be safe as a food additive.
Cellulose Thickener & Food Uses
Cellulose thickener is used as a food stabilizer in dairy products like ice cream, yogurt and milk. It is also a constituent of some of the popular beverages and syrups. It is also found in baked products and pet foods. Some of the other mentionable cellulose thickener & food uses are frozen doughs, salad dressing, processed cheese products, meat products, concentrate juices, squashes and beverages.
Cellulose Gum & Other Uses
Carboxymethyl cellulose has a basic property of being a stabilizing gum. In all other uses, it performs the role of a binder. Some of the popular non-food uses of the carboxymethyl cellulose gum are
- Hair products like shampoos, conditioners & hair gels.
- Other beauty and cosmetic products like body lotions, face creams, etc also contain carboxymethyl cellulose.
- Pharmaceutical industry also uses the carboxymethyl cellulose gum in certain ointments, laxatives, diet pills and also as artificial tears stimulating eye drops.
- Water paints used by artists also contain carboxymethyl cellulose gum for keeping them thick and bound.
- Oil industry uses it for mud drilling as a viscosity modifier and an instrument to retain water.
- Due to its harmless nature and properties it is also a constituent of the laundry detergents.
- It is also use for making a lot of paper products & ceramic production as well.