By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director
The VRG recently received an email from someone who asked us if glucono delta lactone (GDL) was derived from lactose in cow’s milk. (The “lactone” part of this ingredient’s name made him suspicious.) Glucono delta lactone is an ingredient in many foods, functioning as a substitute for enzymes in cheese processing or tofu manufacturing; or as a leavening acid in bakery products.
We asked the quality control or research and development departments of several companies that manufacture glucono delta lactone about their starting materials as well as about the production process. We spoke with Archer Daniels Midland, Purac America, PMP Fermentation Products, Inc., and Wintersun Chemical. All four companies reported that their glucono delta lactone is (or, was, in the case of ADM and Purac which no longer produce it), entirely plant-based. It is prepared by microbial (bacteria or yeast) fermentation of a carbohydrate source. Additional processing or chemical reactions are not involved in manufacturing glucono delta lactone.
Corn is (and always has been) the major commercial source. Rice may be used as well. Ener-G Foods uses rice by a method involving bacterial fermentation in order to produce leavened breads that are yeast-free.
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