|Solubility in water||Freely soluble or readily dispersible in water|
|Solubility||slightly soluble to insoluble in anhydrous alcohol|
|Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)|
|(what is: / ?)|
Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive. It is produced from starch by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a white hygroscopic spray-dried powder. Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose, and might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless. It is commonly used for the production of sodas and candy. It can also be found as an ingredient in a variety of other processed foods.
Maltodextrin consists of D-glucose units connected in chains of variable length. The glucose units are primarily linked with α(1→4) glycosidic bonds. Maltodextrin is typically composed of a mixture of chains that vary from three to seventeen glucose units long.
Maltodextrins are classified by DE (dextrose equivalent) and have a DE between 3 to 20. The higher the DE value, the shorter the glucose chains, the higher the sweetness, the higher the solubility and the lower heat resistance. Above DE 20, the European Union's CN code calls it glucose syrup, at DE 10 or lower the customs CN code nomenclature classifies maltodextrins as dextrins.
Maltodextrin can be enzymatically derived from any starch. In the US, this starch is usually corn; in Europe, it is commonly wheat. Wheat-derived maltodextrin may cause concern for individuals suffering from gluten intolerance. If wheat is used to make maltodextrin, it will appear on the label.[better source needed]
Maltodextrin is sometimes used in beer brewing to increase the specific gravity of the final product. This improves the mouthfeel of the beer, increases head retention and reduces the dryness of the drink. Maltodextrin has no flavor and is not fermented by the yeast, so it does not increase the alcohol content of the brew. It is also used in snacks such as Sun Chips. It is used in "light" peanut butter to reduce the fat content but keep the texture (as in Kraft Light Smooth Peanut Butter). Research is underway at Virginia Tech to use maltodextrin with air to make a new kind of cheaper, refillable, biodegradable battery to generate electricity for cell phones, video game handhelds and other electronic gadgets.
As food ingredient
One of the most common uses of maltodextrin is as a food additive, where it's used to thicken products. It is practically tasteless and colorless character makes it an easy — and inexpensive — way to “bulk up” foods like oatmeal, salad dressings, and commercial sauces. Since it doesn't really have any nutritional value, it is often criticized as being something of an “empty” additive. In nearly all cases, the same thickening could be achieved through other, often more wholesome means, but adding the processed powder is a shortcut favored by commercial food preparers all over the world as a way to lessen costs and improve volume. 
The compound is also frequently used as a filler in products like sugar substitutes. The white powder often blends right in, and it can stretch the quantity of an item without impacting its taste. On its own, the powder often looks a lot like sugar, so blending in a few scoops is a common way of selling less for more.
Maltodextrin has a glycemic index ranging from 85 to 105 so it should not be considered suitable for diabetics.
- U.S. Pharmacopeia summary of maltodextrin
- "Other Caloric Sweeteners", Sugar Association website
- Maltodextrin at glutenfreeliving.com
- "How to Brew" at Black Rock, a beer brewing supplier in New Zealand
- Zhu, Z; Tam, TK; Sun, F; You, C; Zhang, HP (2014). "A high-energy-density sugar biobattery based on a synthetic enzymatic pathway". Nature Communications 5. doi:10.1038/ncomms4026.