Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide
Polysaccharides are long carbohydrate molecules, of repeated monomer units joined together by glycosidic bonds. They range in structure from linear to highly branched. Polysaccharides are often quite heterogeneous, containing slight modifications of the repeating unit. Depending on the structure,...

 that is used as a food additive
Food additive
Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance.Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling , salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as in some wines...

. It is produced from starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

 by partial hydrolysis
Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction during which molecules of water are split into hydrogen cations and hydroxide anions in the process of a chemical mechanism. It is the type of reaction that is used to break down certain polymers, especially those made by condensation polymerization...

 and is usually found as a creamy-white
White is a color, the perception of which is evoked by light that stimulates all three types of color sensitive cone cells in the human eye in nearly equal amounts and with high brightness compared to the surroundings. A white visual stimulation will be void of hue and grayness.White light can be...

 hygroscopic spraydried
Spray drying
Spray drying is a method of producing a dry powder from a liquid or slurry by rapidly drying with a hot gas. This is the preferred method of drying of many thermally-sensitive materials such as foods and pharmaceuticals. A consistent particle size distribution is a reason for spray drying some...

 powder. Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

, and might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless. It is commonly used for the production of sodas
Soft drink
A soft drink is a non-alcoholic beverage that typically contains water , a sweetener, and a flavoring agent...

 and candy
Candy, specifically sugar candy, is a confection made from a concentrated solution of sugar in water, to which flavorings and colorants are added...

. It can also be found as an ingredient in a variety of other processed foods.


Maltodextrin consists of D-glucose units connected in chains of variable length. The glucose units are primarily linked with α(1→4) glycosidic bonds
Glycosidic bond
In chemistry, a glycosidic bond is a type of covalent bond that joins a carbohydrate molecule to another group, which may or may not be another carbohydrate....

. Maltodextrin is typically composed of a mixture of chains that vary from three to nineteen glucose units long.

Maltodextrins are classified by DE (dextrose equivalent
Dextrose equivalent
Dextrose equivalent is a measure of the amount of reducing sugars present in a sugar product, relative to glucose, expressed as a percentage on a dry basis. For example, a maltodextrin with a DE of 10 would have 10% of the reducing power of dextrose , while sucrose, with a DE of 120, would have...

) and have a DE between 3 to 20. (The higher the DE value, the shorter the glucose chains, the higher the sweetness and the higher the solubility.) Above DE 20, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

's CN code
Combined Nomenclature
Council Regulation No 2658/87 of 23 July 1987, creates the goods nomenclature called the Combined Nomenclature, or in abbreviated form 'CN', established to meet, at one and the same time, the requirements both of the Common Customs Tariff and of the external trade statistics of the European...

 calls it glucose syrup
Corn syrup
Corn syrup is a food syrup, which is made from the starch of maize and contains varying amounts of maltose and higher oligosaccharides, depending on the grade. Corn syrup is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavor...

, at DE 10 or lower the customs CN code nomenclature classifies maltodextrins as dextrin
Dextrins are a group of low-molecular-weight carbohydrates produced by the hydrolysis of starch or glycogen. Dextrins are mixtures of polymers of D-glucose units linked by α- or α- glycosidic bonds....



Maltodextrin can be enzymatically derived from any starch. In the US, this starch is usually corn
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

; in Europe, it is commonly wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

. While wheat-derived maltodextrin may cause concern for individuals suffering from gluten
Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye...

 intolerance, maltodextrin is such a highly processed ingredient that the majority of the protein is removed, rendering it effectively gluten free. If wheat is used to make maltodextrin, it will appear on the label. Even so, the maltodextrin itself will be gluten free. It is recommended that celiacs or patients with severe intolerance to gluten continue to avoid food with maltodextrin.

Maltodextrin is a common adjunct to beer brewing to increase the specific gravity of the final beer product. This improves the mouthfeel
Mouthfeel is a product's physical and chemical interaction in the mouth, an aspect of food rheology. It is a concept used in many areas related to the testing and evaluating of foodstuffs, such as wine-tasting and rheology. It is evaluated from initial perception on the palate, to first bite,...

of the beer and reduces the dryness of the drink. Maltodextrin is not fermented by the yeast and has no flavor.

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