Maltodextrin is nonsweet nutritive saccharide polymer that consists of D-glucose units linked primarily by (alpha)-1,4 bonds and that has a dextrose equivalent (DE) of less than 20. It is prepared as a white powder or concentrated solution. It is a complex food ingredient. Produced from corn starch by enzyme hydrolysis, the resulting product can consist of varying lengths of glucose units. The long chain forms of maltodextrin are often used as thickening agents as they offer little or no sweetness.
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-center sweets, and for frosting, glazing and improving the hygroscopic characteristics of hard sweets.