Surface-modified nanocrystalline cellulose from oil palm empty fruit bunch for effective binding of curcumin

Mei Ling Foo, Ca Rol Tan, Pei Dee Lim, Chien Wei Ooi, Khang Wei Tan, Irene Mei Leng Chew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Rod-shape particles have been a good drug carrier due to the long circulatory time, tumor accumulation and high cellular uptake in body. Acid-hydrolysed nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) from empty fruit bunch exhibited a width of 13–30 nm and a length of 150–360 nm in rod-shape structure. NCC holds good potential as a bio-based drug carrier owing to its biodegradability and biocompatibility. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy results confirmed the binding of curcumin onto the NCC modified with tannic acid (TA) and decylamine (DA). TA-DA modification rendered NCC with a higher level of hydrophobicity, as evidenced by a substantial increase in contact angle from 45° to 73°. The modified NCC had the curcumin-binding efficiency in the range of 95–99%, which is at least twofold higher than the unmodified NCC at any curcumin concentration tested. This remarkable curcumin-binding effciency was comparable to that of commercialized NCC from wood-based origin. This work suggests NCC as a superior and sustainable drug carrier, while TA-DA modification is a promising approach to alter the surface property of NCC for an efficient binding of curcumin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1064-1071
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Curcumin
  • Drug carrier
  • Empty fruit bunch
  • Hydrophobic
  • Nanocrystalline cellulose
  • Surface modification

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