The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Glucono Delta Lactone Is an All-Vegetable Ingredient

Posted on October 01, 2010 by The VRG Blog Editor

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 used rice by a method involving bacterial fermentation in order to produce leavened breads that are yeast-free.

10/15/2015 UPDATE: Ener-G Foods now uses corn and no longer uses rice.

Interested readers may subscribe to our free email newsletter for updates on glucono delta lactone and many other common food ingredients. You can purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients to learn about the commercial sources of over two hundred food ingredients at

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16 to “Glucono Delta Lactone Is an All-Vegetable Ingredient”

  1. shelli Whittaker says:

    is this ingredient gluten free?

  2. Leander says:

    I have a can of beans that says it has
    Is this vegan?

  3. Leander says:

    add a “O” at the end of “glucon”

  4. Ron says:

    Can you please tell me if glucono delta lactone has corn in it.

  5. PJ says:

    I spoke with customer service at Ener G Foods last week, and was told that the glucono delta lactone they currently use in their yeast free bread is corn derived. They previously had a supplier who made a version that was rice based, but it is no longer available, so they switched to the corn derived glucono delta lactose “a couple of months ago”.

  6. Lou says:

    Is the corn used by Ener G Foods GMO?

  7. Natasha says:

    Glucono delta lactone can be formed by a method involving bacterial fermentation. Can this result in high fecal coliform in the Glucono delta lactone.

  8. Clotilde says:

    Thanks for this post! I just bought silken tofu and it says ‘gulcono lactone 575’ on the ingredients and I completely freaked out. I’m glad your post made it all clear! THANK YOU!

  9. Jan says:

    I have been trying to find out what foods and food additives have corn in them. So far, I have 18 items and am going to avoid them all. How much corn is out there that’s not genetically modified? Not much these days.

  10. Em says:

    We are corn-free for my son, who has a nasty GI reaction to corn protein. Jan, you have no idea how much out there has corn in it or may have corn, with no way to tell unless you have a really knowledgeable customer service rep on the other end of the line (and many aren’t). Iodized salt, citric acid, “natural flavors,” virtually all vitamins have at least one corn-derived ingredient… The best thing you can do is virtually avoid processed food, though someone told me the other day that some veggies are sprayed with corn-based ethylene gas to prevent spoilage. It’s kind of scary. If you’re just looking for non-GMO corn, the USDA organic certification requires it, so that’s a way. But you’ll save money and have a better chance of avoiding corn by eating more real food and less packaged.

  11. Faron says:

    Thank you for posting this information, I am a cancer patient and need to avoid corn. The cancer cells feed on corn, sugar, and starches. I do my best to avoid sugars, corn, and all starches. I am also a heart patient since birth and need to avoid salt. The Ener-G Baking Powder is sodium free but not corn free. Thank you again for posting this information, it is a life saver. I like to keep my cancer markers down!

  12. Debra says:

    Re: Glucono-delta-lactone, I have autoimmune disease, and staying away from corn and corn is the big problem, and 90+% of corn in this country is GMO, and I won’t eat it! GMO’s are ahuge problem for those of us with autoimmunities. Also, rice is another big problem, not so much with GMO, but more with arsenic! Don’t want to ingest too much of that! It’s in our water and we can’t get it out so why eat it too?!?!?!?!

  13. adeline says:

    GDL is definitely gluten free, not sure about wheat though. (You can buy pasta containing it that states gluten free)

  14. Carrie says:

    This was very helpful! I was going to buy a new energe brand tapioca bread that was highly recommended for gluten free, but I’m also allergic to corn and did not know what this new ingredient was .. Thanks for saving me from buying it . It’s so sad that about 75% of gluten free product makers have now switched to corn. Since corn is so modified its causing major other allergies but also about 1/3 of celiacs are also allergic to the gluten in corn. It is obvious these gluten free companies do NOT know there intended market at all!!! Why would you intentionally give up about 1/3 of your intended market!!???

  15. Chuck Odum says:

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this superb blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  16. The VRG Blog Editor says:

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