Microbial cellulose modified during synthesis

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Brown, R. Malcolm, Jr.

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United States Patent and Trademark Office


The present invention involves a method of producing cellulose. This method comprises inoculating a quantity of nutrient medium comprising a polysaccharide derivative such as carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) with a cellulose-producing microorganism. The inoculated medium is then aerobically incubated to facilitate the production of cellulose. The step of substantially drying the cellulose may be added for certain products. Substantially dried cellulose resulting from this procedure is highly absorbent, tending to retain its absorbent properties during repeated wetting and drying, and is usable where such absorbency is desired. A subject of the present invention is a composition of matter consisting essentially of such cellulose in a native or substantially dried form. Microbial cellulose produced in the presence of carboxymethyl cellulose may be substantially dried by many means known to those skilled in the art. This drying may be, for example, by washing with a non-aqueous hydrophilic solvent or by air-drying. Preferred non-aqueous solvents include alkyl alcohols or ketones having less than about six carbon atoms. When such non-aqueous solvents are used to dry the CMC-produced cellulose, the dried cellulose may have a resilient structure and possibly an elastic nature.



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