Microcrystalline cellulose is a purified, partially depolymerized cellulose

Microcrystalline cellulose is a purified, partially depolymerized cellulose that occurs as a white, odorless, tasteless, crystalline powder composed of porous particles. It is commercially available in different particle sizes and moisture grades that have different properties and applications

Nonproprietary Names

  • BP: Microcrystalline Cellulose
  • JP: Microcrystalline Cellulose
  • PhEur: Cellulose, Microcrystalline
  • USP-NF: Microcrystalline Cellulose


Avicel PH; Cellets; Celex; cellulose gel; hellulosum microcristallinum;
Celphere; Ceolus KG; crystalline cellulose; E460; Emcocel;
Ethispheres; Fibrocel; MCC Sanaq; Pharmacel; Tabulose; Vivapur.

Chemical Name and CAS Registry Number
Cellulose [9004-34-6]

Empirical Formula and Molecular Weight
(C6H10O5) n = 36 000
Where n is equivalent to 220.

Functional Category
Adsorbent; suspending agent; tablet and capsule diluent; tablet disintegrant.

Applications in Pharmaceutical Formulation or Technology

Microcrystalline cellulose is widely used in pharmaceuticals, primarily as a binder/diluent in oral tablet and capsule formulations where it is used in both wet-granulation and direct-compression processes. In addition to its use as a binder or diluent, microcrystalline cellulose also has some lubricant and disintegrant properties that make it useful in tableting. Microcrystalline cellulose is also used in cosmetics and food products.

Method of Manufacture

Microcrystalline cellulose is manufactured by controlled hydrolysis with dilute mineral acid solutions of a-cellulose, obtained as a pulp from fibrous plant materials. Following hydrolysis, the hydrocellulose is purified by filtration and the aqueous slurry is spraydried to form dry, porous particles of a broad size distribution.