What is Cellulose Fibre? – Uses in Food, History, Advantages, Side Effects, FDA Approval

What is Cellulose Fibre?

Cellulose fibres are fibres made with ether or esters of cellulose, which can be obtained from the bark, wood or leaves of plants, or from a plant-based material. It is used in textile industry, food industry. Cellulose is a straight chain polymer made of repeating glucose units.

Cellulose is a thick, robust fibre that gives vegetables and fruits their structural reliability. It can be eaten but not digested as human body cannot absorb cellulose fibre, because humans lack enzyme that break cellulose into its component sugars.

Cellulose is widely used by food industries as food additive due to its quality of making product smooth. It is also used in bakery as it is an anti-caking agent and makes the product attractive.

Synonyms:Dietary fibre

History of Cellulose Fibre:

Cellulose was discovered in 1838 by the French chemist Anselme Payen, who isolated it from plant matter and determined its chemical formula. Cellulose was used to produce the first successful thermoplastic polymer, celluloid, by Hyatt Manufacturing Company in 1870.

Uses of Cellulose Fibre:

  • Cellulose fibre is used in syrups, ice cream and many other food products.
  • It is used in the manufacturing of bakery products as it absorbs the excess moisture from the product and gives it a firm appearance.
  • It is used as food additive.
  • It is used as fibre supplement.
  • It is an anti-caking agent.
  • It is used as thickening agent.
  • It is used as an emulsifying agent and added in many products to maintain its integrity.
  • It is used in the manufacturing of sauces, ice creams, frozen yoghurt etc.
  • It is also used as suspending agents.

Foods rich in Cellulose Fibre:

Banana, cucumber, seeds, nuts, peas, potato, carrot, sprouts, whole grains, vegetables etc.


  • It is added to food to increase their food content.
  • It helps preventing constipation as it enhances gut motility of food.
  • It lowers the risk of colon cancer.
  • It lowers blood glucose & cholesterol level.
  • It lowers the risk of having diabetes.
  • It helps in reducing weight.
  • It is used in textile industry.
  • It is used for filtration process.


Cellulose fibre is considered as safe and there is no such disadvantage of its intake.

Side effects:

Cellulose fibre does not cause any significant side effect but its excess intake may cause:

  • Bloating
  • Loose stools

FDA Approval

Cellulose fibre is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to makeup the daily fibre requirement.

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