|Related compounds||Triricinolein (monomer)|
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Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
Polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR), E476, is an emulsifier made in a three step process from glycerol and fatty acids (usually castor bean), respectively. PGPR reduces the viscosity of chocolate and similar coatings and compounds. It works by decreasing the friction between the particles of cacao, sugar, milk, etc. present so they can flow more easily when melted. It is used at low levels (below 1%). It is made up of a short chain of glycerol molecules connected by ether bonds, with ricinoleic acid side chains connected by ester bonds.
PGPR is strongly lipophilic, soluble in fats and oils and insoluble in water and ethyl alcohol. In chocolates, it is used as a viscosity-reducing agent. It is virtually always paired with lecithin or another plastic viscosity-reducing agent.
In a study in 1998, "PGPR was found to be 98% digested by rats and utilized as a source of energy superior to starch and nearly equivalent to groundnut oil." Additionally, there was no evidence of interference with normal fat metabolism, nor with growth, reproduction, and maintenance of tissue. Overall, it did not "constitute a human health hazard."
Use in chocolate candy bars
It is used by chocolate makers to reduce their costs of raw materials. Since 2006, commercial-grade candy bars, such as those made by Hersheys and Nestlé, made an industry-wide switch to include PGPR as an ingredient - a possible indicator of a cost-saving measure by the commercial chocolate industry. Makers of PGPR such as Danisco and Palsgaard indicate PGPR can be used to replace the traditional but more expensive cocoa butter as an ingredient in chocolate. Palsgaard's website asserts, "Cocoa butter is an expensive raw material for chocolate manufacturers. By using PALSGAARD 4150 the chocolate recipe has lower costs in terms of less cocoa butter but also gives the benefit of having less fat."
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