In the present study, nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) was prepared via acid hydrolysis and synthesis parameters were optimized via response surface modelling with a determined maximum NCC yield of 43.8%. The optimized NCC sample was subsequently surface modified via epichlorohydrin-mediated amination forming aminated nanocrystalline cellulose (A-NCC) with an amine content calculated as 1500 mu mol/g. The average particle size and zeta potential were determined 100 nm and 325 nm for NCC and A-NCC, respectively. Structural properties were analyzed by FTIR, TEM and XRD techniques. The obtained A-NCC as final product depicted a pKa value of 10.86 +/- 0.07 demonstrating favourable protonation of amine groups at physiological pH allowing the material to be suitable for prospective application in drug delivery and tissue engineering. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.