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cellulose derivatives


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A number of chemically modified forms of cellulose are used in food processing for their special properties, including i) carboxymethylcellulose, which is prepared from the pure cellulose of cotton or wood. It absorbs up to 50 times its own weight of water to form a stable colloidal mass. It is used, together with stabilizers, as a whipping agent, in ice cream, confectionery, jellies, etc., and as an inert filler in ‘slimming aids’; ii) methylcellulose, which differs from carboxymethylcellulose (and other gums) since its viscosity increases rather than decreases with increasing temperature. Hence it is soluble in cold water and forms a gel on heating. It is used as a thickener and emulsifier, and in foods formulated to be low in gluten; iii) other cellulose derivatives used as emulsifiers and stabilizers—hydroxypropylcellulose, hydroxypropyl-methylcellulose, and ethyl-methylcellulose.

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