Esters of glycerol and resin acids (E445)

Esters of glycerol and resin acids in the international classifications of food additives are labeled as a stabilizer and emulsifier E445. The word “resinous” in the title should not scare away the consumer, despite the fact that wood resin is used in the process of extracting the substance, in this form it does not harm the human body. Although esters of glycerol and resin acids are produced synthetically, scientists classify the additive as a substance with a low level of danger. Therefore, the E445 code can be found in a variety of goods, including food for the population. Another name under which a substance can “hide” is glycerol esters of wood resins.

Characteristics of the additive, its properties and methods of obtaining

Resin acids - a substance obtained in the process of processing waste from the woodworking industry, most often old stumps, which are not used for other type of processing. Such acids have high antiviral activity, but are rarely used on a production scale due to low profitability.

The additive usually has a solid form, looks like a hardened resin. Coloring - from cream to light brown and amber.

The composition contains glycerol esters of diterpenic acids (triglycerols and diglycerols), as well as some impurities: sodium salts, monoglycerin. The substance has no taste, as well as smell. However, in some cases it has a slight coniferous aroma.

Solubility in water is zero, in ethanol and turpentine it is average, in acetone and benzene the E445 additive has a high solubility. At a temperature of 82-90 degrees Celsius, the substance begins to soften and melt.

In addition, the food additive E445 has a high density, due to which it is used in water-oil mixtures as an emulsifier: the substance promotes the formation of oil-water and water-oil emulsions, which normally do not mix.

Most often, the additive is used as a stabilizer capable of forming and maintaining the desired consistency of the product, its texture and shape.

There are several options for obtaining esters of glycerol and resin acids. One of them is using oils and industrial rubber.

However, this scheme is not suitable for the purposes of the food industry. In this case, the extraction comes from natural raw materials - from the resin of the Pinus palustris tree of the genus pine.

The resin collected from the bark of the tree is purified from organic residues by distillation with water vapor.

Further, the substance reacts with glycerin, as a result of which glycerol esters of wood resin are formed.

Substance packaging requirements

Most often, the additive is stored and transported in cardboard drums lined with food-grade polyethylene. However, this is not the only form of packaging for it: corrugated cardboard pastry boxes, plastic barrels and containers are also allowed.

The main requirement is the presence of a polyethylene bag-liner. The additive may only come into contact with materials approved for contact with food.

Industrial use of the additive E445

The substance has a pronounced antibacterial effect and is able to form a thin film on the surface of the goods, as well as form and maintain the uniformity of the product structure, preventing precipitation components.

Another industry where the additive is used is the production of paints and varnishes and waterproof coatings. Such products are distinguished by a long service life and resistance to oxidation. For baby food, the use of esters of glycerol and resin acids is prohibited.

The substance is not absorbed by the body, but is excreted from it unchanged during the day.

Glycerol esters of tree tar have found use in the production and processing of certain foods.

In particular:

  • citrus fruits (with the help of an additive, they can be protected from drying out and extend their shelf life);
  • flavored opaque drinks, such as juices with pulp, and dry mixes for preparing drinks;
  • chewing gum (substance used as a stabilizing base);
  • foods and drinks containing cocoa;
  • condensed milk and dairy products;
  • cheese and cheese products;
  • ice cream, puddings.

How a substance can affect the human body

According to studies by the World Health Organization, the dietary supplement E445 does not have a toxic or oncogenic effect on humans. Its use helps to reduce excess weight and normalize the level of cholesterol in the blood, improve digestion and cleanse the intestines of toxins, so some scientists talk about the benefits of glycerol esters of resin acids.

The daily intake is set at no more than 25 mg per 1 kg of adult body weight.

There are also some requirements regarding the allowable dosage of the additive in foods and beverages. In Russia, for example, no more than 50 mg of a substance per 1 kilogram of fruit is allowed for processing citrus fruits. For drinks, the norm is 100 mg per 1 liter.

The danger of using the substance is that in some cases it can act as an allergen and provoke the appearance of the corresponding symptoms - suffocation, rash, redness of the skin, itching.

Therefore, products with tar glycerol esters can be a real problem for allergy sufferers and asthmatics. People with metabolic disorders should also refrain from getting the substance into the body.

Sometimes the addition of E445 leads to digestive upset, diarrhea and stomach pain.

A food additive based on glycerol esters and wood resin is used in industry in many countries. In Canada, the USA, Russia, Ukraine and the states of the European Union, its use in food is currently allowed, while at the domestic level the allowable dosage for each specific type of product may be regulated by national norms and regulations. The substance is considered practically harmless, but in some cases it acts as an allergen, so when buying any unfamiliar and new products, you should carefully read the composition on their labels and find out if they contain E445.