Medical Applications of Cellulose and its Derivatives: Present and Future

Karthika Ammini Sindhu*, Raghavan Prasanth, Vijay Kumar Thakur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Cellulose is a naturally occurring material found in wood, cotton, hemp, and other plant-based materials, and consists of repeating anhydroglucose units joined by β-(1,4) linkages forming the basic repeating unit. It was first isolated from wood in 1885 by Charles F. Cross and Edward Bevan at the Jodrell Laboratory of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London. Cellulose is well known as one of the most abundant biodegradable materials in nature and has been widely used in medical applications such as wound dressing, tissue engineering, controllable drug delivery system, blood purification, etc., due to its biocompatibility, hydrophilicity, biodegradable, nontoxicity and antimicrobial properties. Although the primary use of cellulose films has been for wrapping purposes, it has also found an application in the treatment of renal failure, as well as in a variety of more recent and evolving clinical applications such as for scaffolds in tissue engineering, temporary skin substitute, haemostatic agent, post-operative adhesion barrier, and as a culture material for hepatocytes. Recently, there has been a decline in the use of many of the clinical applications of cellulose such as film and tubes manufactured from cellulose, which have historically been used for the treatment of renal failure, dialysis, etc., and new applications for its use are emerging. Among those that appear to be most promising is the use of microbial cellulose synthesized by Acetobacter xylinum, which shows vast potential as a novel wound healing system and scaffold for tissue regeneration. In this chapter, the use of cellulose in medical applications is reviewed and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNanocellulose Polymer Nanocomposites
Subtitle of host publicationFundamentals and Applications
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages41
ISBN (Electronic)9781118872246
ISBN (Print)9781118871904
Publication statusPrint publication - 14 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biocompatibility
  • Biopolymer
  • Cellulose
  • Cellulose acetate
  • Composite materials
  • Implant materials
  • Medical applications
  • Microbial cellulose
  • Nanocomposite
  • Tissue engineering


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