Maltodextrin is a mixture of glucose, maltose, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides.
It is a creamy white hygroscopic powder, moderately sweet in taste. It is produced by partial hydrolysis of starch by an enzyme process using a bacterial alpha amylase, followed by refining and spray drying to a moisture level of 3 – 5%. It is the simplest form of sugar, has a soft texture in the mouth, and is easily digested, which makes it ideal for use in baby foods, feed supplements, and foods for convalescents. It is also used as a carrying and dispersing agent for flavours, and is ideally suited for encapsulation.
Maltodextrin is generally used in the food and nutrition industry as a bulking agent, flavour enhancer, oxygen barrier, colour controller, stabiliser and viscosity builder, and as a spray-drying agent. It is popular as a flavouring, bulking and drying agent in products such as flavoured, diet and coffee powders, and is often used to replace a portion of protein whipping agent in aerated beverages.
For instant foods, maltodextrin is the perfect carrying agent due to its free flexibility, open structure, solubility in cold water, and ability to maintain clarity and aesthetic appeal. It is therefore extensively used in the manufacture of puddings, soups and frozen desserts, and as a dispersing agent in instant drink concentrates.
Due to the presence of higher molecular weight saccharides, maltodextrin lends texture and bulk to fruit products, cereal bars, cream fillings, icings and cakes. It is also used as a moisture-retaining agent in breads, pastries and meats.
It is ideal for coating confectionary and soft-centre sweets, and for frosting, glazing and improving the hygroscopic characteristics of hard sweets.
Maltodextrin is used in a variety of pharmaceutical products, such as special diet products, isotonic drinks, alkalisers, etc, as a nutritional supplement, for binding and density control, and to control the rate of disintegration of pills etc. It is also used in tableting, in combination with dextrin as a directly compressible vehicle.