Nanocellulose, available in the form of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC), microfibrillated cellulose (MFC), nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) and bacterial cellulose (BC) are widely used across different verticals including pharmaceuticals, cosmeceuticals, food, paint and paper industry. Its wide acceptability is because of its specific characteristics such as light weight, greater stiffness than Kevlar, non-toxicity, high tensile strength and ability to conduct electricity. Various applications include in the manufacturing of body armor for soldiers, screens, filter and automobile parts. Today, an extensive research is going on all over the world in order to enhance its applicability such as replacement materials for artificial heart valves, artificial ligament and hip joints. In August 2012, Forest Products Laboratory announced to invest USD 1.7 million in production facility for renewable forest based nanomaterials like nanocellulose. In pharmaceuticals, it is used for tablet coating, additives, sustained drug delivery, packaging and as a flavor carrier and suspension stabilizers in formulation process. Use of spray dried nanofibrillated cellulose as filler in tablet compression has improved the flow properties of the commercially available microcrystalline cellulose. Owing to its unique nanostructure and characteristics, nanocellulose has significant applications in manufacturing a variety of medical devices ranging from therapeutic to diagnostic devices.
The market for nanocellulose technology is experiencing burgeoning demand across pharmaceutical industry due to its use as excipients in formulation, for coating tablets, printing on hard capsule and for packaging purposes. Ongoing development in drug delivery is also driving the demand for nanucellulose materials; bacterial cellulose obtained from bacteria is considered to exert controlling influence on skin release of a drug. Increasing number of drugs showing poor solubility and bioavailability is also one of the factors creating the demand for nanocellulose. Other factors driving the market for nanocellulose technology are its low cost, increasing demand for more efficacious drug and substantial amount of ongoing research on nanocellulose to enhance its application spectrum. In developed countries, rapid growth in personalized medicine market fuelling the demand for advanced drug delivery system can also be a factor driving the market. India holding the 3rd rank in terms of pharmaceutical bulk manufacturing represents a potential market for nanocellulose technology.
Some of the major companies operating in the market for cellulose technology include Grenoble INP-Pagora, Melodea, Nippon Paper, Polynew, Inc., Verso Paper, SUNY-ESF, Oji Paper, UPM-Kymmene Ltd., US Forest Service Products Laboratory, Stora Enso Ltd., Georgia Tech and Diacel Chemical Ltd.
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