German chemicals group Wacker has received approval from the European Commission for the use of gamma-cyclodextrin as a novel food ingredient for foodstuffs and beverages in the European Union (EU).
Cyclodextrins are ring-shaped sugar molecules which Wacker bioengineers from plant-based raw materials such as corn or potatoes.
In food applications, cyclodextrins can mask an unpleasant taste, stabilise sensitive food ingredients such as vitamins or increase the bioavailability of certain active agents. EU approval of gamma-cyclodextrin opens up a series of new applications in the European food industry for the company.
“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, thegroup’s life sciences and fine chemicals division. “Gamma-cyclodextrin will now open up completely new applications for our customers in the European food industry.”
According to Wacker, 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 it is tolerated well even when taken in large quantities, gamma-cyclodextrin is said to be an ideal ingredient for food-stuffs whose purpose is delayed glucose release.
Furthermore, cyclodextrins can also mask odour and taste, such as the bitter taste of green-tea products and ginseng preparations, without diminishing the benefits of the bitter substances. Moreover, the bioavailability of functional ingredients, such as curcumin or coenzyme Q10, can be increased with the aid of cyclodextrins.
As gamma-cyclodextrin has been approved as a novel food ingredient, it does not have an E number. Consequently, gamma-cyclodextrin is particularly appealing for clean-label formulations.