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 hazard information
GHS classification*: not a hazardous substance or mixture
*Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
Maltodextrin fast facts
|CAS Reg. No.||9050-36-6|
|Molar mass||504.5 g/mol (n = 3)|
2774.7 g/mol (n = 17)
|Appearance||White to yellow powder|
|Melting point||240 ºC (dec.)|
|Water solubility||≈1.2 kg/L|
*n = number of glucose units.
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