Glucono-delta-Lactone – a universal ingredient for many applications
Glucono-delta-Lactone or GdL for short is a naturally occurring ingredient for the food, personal care and pharma industry and is chemically seen a carbohydrate. It is formed by removing water during the drying and crystallisation of gluconic acid, an organic acid that is itself formed by the fermentation of glucose syrup. Gluconic acid occurs naturally in the human body, in plants, fruits, honey and in fermented foods like wine and kombucha. Due to their chemical relationship with glucose, GdL and gluconic acid are broken down in the body in a similar way via the glucose metabolism or excreted over urine.
GdL forms solid, white crystals that taste slightly sweet. When added into an aqueous solution, it dissolves rapidly and hydrolyses slowly to mainly gluconic acid. The slow hydrolysis to gluconic acid has the unique property of a very gentle acidification. This progressive acidification is time, temperature and concentration dependent, but ultimately results in a gentle pH reduction and a very mild tasting acid that can be used in many different applications.
One of the most common and increasingly used applications is the use of GdL as a leavening acid in baked goods. Together with sodium, potassium, or ammonium bicarbonate, it is an excellent alternative to the currently most common leavening acid, SAPP, a phosphate. With its natural production method, renewable raw materials and its biodegradability, GdL is more sustainable than phosphates, which are obtained from finite resources. But GdL also has many advantages over SAPP in terms of functionality. It leads to a more homogenous pore structure and a cleaner taste, and especially in gluten-free or sodium-reduced baked goods, the use of GdL has proven its worth.
In meat products, GdL is a widely used acidifier. It can either be used in ready-to-eat meat preparations such as meat salads or spreads due to its mild taste while lowering the pH value, or it can also be applied in dry cured sausages. In raw fermented sausages, it leads to an extremely safe food product in combination with lactic acid bacteria. Spoilage causing bacteria or pathogens that can multiply during the lag phase of the starter cultures are inhibited by the use of GdL and thus cannot multiply. In addition, GdL can accelerate the drying and the reddening of the sausages.
One of the established applications of GdL is in cheese production. It can slowly acidify milk, similar to lactic acid bacterial but still somewhat faster. This allows it to gradually coagulate the casein without causing microflocculation. GdL can be used for various types of cheese, be it cream cheese, cottage cheese, mozzarella or feta. For all cheeses, it can help increase yield, extend shelf life and make the process easier and more robust.
However, more and more people are reducing their consumption of foods of animal origin for health, ethical and ecological reasons. As a result, the market for vegetarian and vegan food is growing steadily. GdL is also popular in plant-based products. For example, it is a key ingredient in silken tofu and contributes to the silky-soft texture of this type of tofu through gentle acidification. In addition, it is also used in other vegetarian and vegan foods such as sauces, dips and vegan cheese alternatives.
More information about GdL and recipe cards can be handed out on request.