Cyclodextrins are used in other parts of the world to mask unpleasant flavours, stabilise food ingredients such as vitamins and increase the bioavailability of certain active agents. Wacker bioengineers them from plant-based raw materials such as corn and potatoes. They are a natural degradation product of starch.
Wacker claims that scientific studies have shown that gamma-cyclodextrin is an ideal source of glucose that has a low impact on blood sugar and blood insulin levels. As a result, the company believes it to be an ideal ingredient for foodstuffs with a delayed glucose release.
Used to mask bitter taste
In addition, the Munich-based chemicals group said the ingredient could also be used to mask the bitter taste of green tea and ginseng preparations, without diminishing their benefits. The bioavailability of functional ingredients such as curcumin or Coenzyme Q10 could be increased with the aid of cyclodextrins, it added.
Having just been granted approval as a novel food ingredient, gamma-cyclodextrin does not have an E-number designation, making it ideal for clean label applications, said Wacker. Not only is it allergen-free, it is also purely vegetarian. It is bioengineered with the aid of enzymes from renewable raw materials such as corn starch and potato starch.
Completely new applications
“The EU approval is a very positive one for us and a further step toward strengthening our position as global market leader for cyclodextrins,” said Dr Gerhard Schmid, president of Wacker Biosolutions, the group’s life sciences and fine chemicals division. “Gamma-cyclodextrin will now open up completely new applications for our customers in the European food industry.”
Wacker has been active in cyclodextrin-related research and development since the early 1980s and now claims to be the market leader in the ingredient. The company, which clocks up annual sales of €4.91bn and has a global network of 24 production sites, has been producing cyclodextrins at its Eddyville site in the US since 1999.
The molecule is also used in industries such as household and personal care, pharmaceutical and cosmetic preparations, textiles and construction.