Technological watch

Recent Advances in Cellulose-Based Hydrogels: Food Applications

In the past couple of years, cellulose has attracted a significant amount of attention and research interest due to the fact that it is the most abundant and renewable source of hydrogels. With increasing environmental issues and an emerging demand, researchers around the world are focusing on naturally produced hydrogels in particular due to their biocompatibility, biodegradability, and abundance. Hydrogels are three-dimensional (3D) networks created by chemically or physically crosslinking linear (or branching) hydrophilic polymer molecules. Hydrogels have a high capacity to absorb water and biological fluids. Although hydrogels have been widely used in food applications, the majority of them are not biodegradable. Because of their functional characteristics, cellulose-based hydrogels (CBHs) are currently utilized as an important factor for different aspects in the food industry. Cellulose-based hydrogels have been extensively studied in the fields of food packaging, functional food, food safety, and drug delivery due to their structural interchangeability and stimuli-responsive properties. This article addresses the sources of CBHs, types of cellulose, and preparation methods of the hydrogel as well as the most recent developments and uses of cellulose-based hydrogels in the food processing sector. In addition, information regarding the improvement of edible and functional CBHs was discussed, along with potential research opportunities and possibilities. Finally, CBHs could be effectively used in the industry of food processing for the aforementioned reasons.

Publication date: 11/01/2023

Author: Pinku Chandra Nath

Reference: doi: 10.3390/foods12020350

MDPI (foods)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.