The Chromatogram Series: Maltodextrin Analysis

Ever wondered why your beer tastes so smooth and creamy? Maltodextrin may be the answer. A commonly used food additive, Maltodextrin is an oligosaccharide of various chain lengths, which improves the mouth feel of beers and similar drinks by modifying the viscoelastic properties of the solution.  An easily digestible oligosaccharide with little to no taste, and moderate sweetness maltodextrin is commonly produced enzymatically from grain products such as wheat or corn.

Here is an example chromatogram of maltodextrin, a poly- or oligosaccharide found on many food ingredient labels. The run conditions and some results are tabulated and shown below.

Run BufferPBS
Flow Rate [mL/min] 0.700
Column Set2 x A6000M + A2500
Column Temp (°C)25.0
Injection volume μL100.0
Concentration [mg/mL]9.65
Mw Weight Average [Da]18,140
Sample dn/dc [mL/g]0.164
Sample IV [dL/g]0.0442
Chromatogram of Maltodextrin
Chromatogram of Maltodextrin. Refractive index RI, Viscometer, Right angle light scattering RALS, and low angle light scattering LALS shown versus elution volume.

Properties like intrinsic viscosity and averange molecular mass of maltodextrin solutions depend on the production process as well as on the starch used for production. Triple-detector GPC allows a detailed analysis of these properties which are critical for food production. The data were acquired with the Malvern Viscotek TDAmax system.

Due to the small size of the molecules in this maltodextrin sample both the 7º (LALS) and 90º (RALS) light scattering measurements overlay well.  However, the difference in the light scattering compared to the viscometer signal clearly shows the difference in structure between the early eluting branched molecules and the later eluting more linear molecules.


If you have any questions, please email me at ulf.nobbmann@malvern.com. Thanks!