The chemical-free production of nanocelluloses from microcrystalline cellulose and their use as Pickering emulsion stabilizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa)
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland


This paper takes a comparative approach in characterizing two types of nano-scale cellulosic particles obtained using chemical-free pathways, either by nearcritical water treatment or by high-shear homogenization from the same microcrystalline cellulose (MCC). The nearcritical water treatment efficiently depolymerized cellulose, producing a solid precipitated fraction of low-molecular-weight material containing cellulose II, while homogenization mechanically deconstructed MCC without altering its molecular structure. Both pathways yielded nanocellulose-like materials yet with different morphologies. The mechanically produced, rod-like particles were obtained with high yield. In contrast, the hydrothermal precipitate exhibited more hydrophobic ribbon-like particles that provided a greater level of particle–particle interaction. Both materials successfully acted as stabilizers for oil-in-water Pickering emulsions; however, the hydrothermally-produced material exhibited superior performance, with stable emulsions obtained upon addition of as low as 1.0 wt.% cellulose. These two pathways are highly relevant for altering the structure and properties of MCC and for formulating new, sustainably produced nanocellulose-based materials.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Microcrystalline cellulose, Microfluidization, Nanocellulose, Nearcritical water, Pickering emulsions

ID: 15680953