Microcrystalline Cellulose Extracted from Native Plants as an Excipient for Solid Dosage Formulations in Drug Delivery

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2020 May 19;10(5):975. doi: 10.3390/nano10050975.


Excipients represent the complement of the active principle in any pharmaceutical form. Their function is to provide stability, protection, and to ensure absorption of the drug and acceptability in patients. Cellulose is a conventional excipient in many pharmaceutical solid dosage products. Most of the sources used to extract microcrystalline cellulose come from cotton or wood, which are expensive and in high demand from other industries. As plants are considered the main source of excipient production, we have taken advantage of the biodiversity of Ecuador to evaluate microcrystalline cellulose extracted from borojó (Alibertia patinoi), a native plant, as an excipient for solid dosage formulations. The method of choice for tablet manufacturing was direct compression since it is a conventional fabrication method in the pharmaceutical industry. First, we performed scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction (XRD) in order to compare the structure and characteristics of the extracted cellulose with two reference commercial cellulose materials. Second, we performed quality tests to evaluate the use of the isolate as an excipient including fluidity, hardness, friability, and disintegration. Compared with commercial and microcrystalline cellulose, the extracted cellulose from the native plant showed comparable characteristics and is consequently a potential excipient that could be used in the pharmaceutical industry. Last, we performed a dissolution test in which we concluded that all tablets have a short release time of active principle.

Keywords: cellulose; drug delivery; pharmaceutical excipient; tablets.