Maltodextrin

April 23, 2018
I’m not as sweet as sugar, but just as fattening.
What molecule am I?

Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used primarily in foods and beverages as a thickener, sweetener, and/or stabilizer. It is a relatively short-chain polymer (some would call it an oligomer); commercial products contain an average of ≈3 to ≈17 glucose units per chain. It is manufactured by partially hydrolyzing grain starches, usually corn or wheat.

Because maltodextrin is safe, inexpensive, and extremely water-soluble, it is used widely as a food additive in a variety of products, ranging from infant formula to ice cream to salad dressing to peanut butter to beer. It is a supplemental ingredient in sweeteners such as sucralose and stevia.

Maltodextrin is not as good a sweetening agent as sucrose (common sugar), but it has as much calorie content as the equivalent amount of sugar. Obese individuals and diabetics should be aware that a food contains maltodextrin before consuming it; it is a listed ingredient on food labels.

Despite these caveats, maltodextrin consumption is increasing steadily. According to Business Wire, the market will expand by >5% annually through 2020, when global sales will reach >US$3 billion.

 

Maltodextrin fast facts

CAS Reg. No. 9050-36-6
Molar mass 504.5 g/mol (n = 3)
2774.7 g/mol (n = 17)
Empirical formula C6nH(10n+2)O(5n+1)
Appearance White to yellow powder
Melting point 240 ºC (dec.)
Water solubility ≈1.2 kg/L

*n = number of glucose units.

 

Maltodextrin hazard information

GHS classification*: not a hazardous substance or mixture

*Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

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