What is Dimethylpolysiloxane (E900) in Food and What are the Uses?

Dimethylpolysiloxane, also known as polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), is a form of silicone used as an antifoaming agent in food with the European food additive number E900. This ingredient is commonly used in frying oil due to its good defoaming effectiveness at high temperatures.

Let’s dip into the navigation:

  1. Overview
  2. Properties
  3. Uses
  4. Approved Safety
  5. Possible side effects
  6. FAQs
  7. Conclusion 

What is Dimethylpolysiloxane?

Definition 

It is made of two parts (1):

  1. (CH3)2 SiO: fully methylated linear siloxane polymers composed of repeating units of the formula (CH3)2 SiO
  2. (CH3)3 SiO: end-blocking trimethylsiloxy (CH3)3 SiO, with the stabilization function.

Structure

Dimethylpolysiloxane chemical structure

From Wikipedia

Why Mcdonalds Use it in Frying Oil?

From the official website of Mcdonalds’ Gulf region, we can know, dimethylpolysiloxane is a food-grade additive acts as an anti-foaming agent to protect their crew from excessive foaming, splashing or bubbling, which occurs when food is added to very hot oil. 

What is it Used for?

PDMS is a silicon-based organic polymer that can be used as an antifoaming agent in fruit and vegetable juices, also it is an anticaking agent in confectionery and flour products, and meanwhile an emulsifier in edible oils essentially free of water.

How is it Made?

PDMS is produced by hydrolysis of a mixture of dimethyldichlorosilane and a small quantity of trimethylchlorosilane. 

Properties

Appearance

Clear, colourless, viscous liquid.  

Solubility

As its no polarity, it is insoluble in polar substances, such as water and in ethanol while soluble in non-polar materials, like in carbon tetrachloride, benzene, chloroform, diethyl ether, toluene and other organic solvents.

Other names
  • Polydimethyl siloxane
  • Silicone fluid
  • Silicone oil
  • Dimethyl silicone
CAS number 9006-65-9
Chemical formula CH3)3-Si-[O-Si(CH3)2]n-O-Si(CH3)3
Molecular weight 6,800 to 30,000 (average and approximate)

What’s the Application of Dimethylpolysiloxane?

Its applications are widely such as in aerospace, aviation, food, chemical, metallurgy, medical and healthcare fields as most of the silicone products (such as silicone oil, silicone rubber, silicone resin) are obtained by the reaction of polydimethylsiloxanes with regulators, cross-linking agents, capping agents, etc.

PDMS has many excellent physical and chemical properties, such as high and low-temperature resistance, radiation resistance, oxidation resistance, high air permeability, weather resistance, mold release, hydrophobicity, and physiological inertness. 

Here we only talk its brief uses in food and cosmetics.

Food

PDMS is commonly used as an antifoaming agent in cooking oils, processed foods, and fast food as it prevents the formation of foam on the surface of liquids by reducing the surface tension. in m.

Usually, its applied viscosity varies from 300 to 1,050 centistokes at 25 ºC in food.

Cosmetics

Per the “European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients”, it functions as an antifoaming, emollient, skin conditioning and skin protecting agent in cosmetic and personal care products. (2)

We can find it in shampoos, conditioners and skin care products. Its common viscosity is 100 and 350 centistokes at 25 ºC.

Is Dimethylpolysiloxane Safe to Eat?

Yes, its safety when used as a food additive has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA),  Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), as well as other authorities.

FDA

PDMS is placed as a “secondary direct food additive” for human consumption and it may be safely used in processing foods as a defoaming agent. 

The following are some applications and the max level. (3)

Food Category Maximum Level
Ready-for-consumption Food 10 mg/kg
Milk 0
dry gelatin dessert mixes 110 mg/kg
ready-to-serve dessert 16 mg/kg
salt for cooking purposes 250 mg/kg
Cooked food 10 mg/kg

It can also be used as a lubricant, release agent and surface-active agent. (4)

EFSA

Dimethylpolysiloxane (E 900) is listed in Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012 as an authorised food additive in the EU as “Additives other than colours and sweeteners”. (5)

Authorised Uses

The following foods may contain it (6):

  • Oils and fats for frying
  • Chewing gum
  • Batters
  • Soups and broths
  • Pineapple juice 
  • Flavoured drinks 
  • Cider and perry
  • Fruit or vegetable spreads
  • Decorations, coatings and fillings
  • Canned or bottled fruit and vegetables
  • Food supplements in effervescent tablet form
  • Confectionery including breath freshening microsweets
  • Jam, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée

Also, it can be used: 

  1. as a carrier in glazing agents for fruit 
  2. in all flavourings
  3. In preparations of beta-carotene and lycopene

Food Standards Australia New Zealand 

It is an approved ingredient in Australia and New Zealand with the code number 900a. (7)

JECFA

Function Class: food additives, antifoaming agent, anticaking agent. (8)

Acceptable Daily Intake: ADI “0–1.5 mg/kg bw” set in 2011. JECFA withdrew the ADI of 0–0.8 mg/kg bw set in 2008 and re-established the ADI of 0–1.5 mg/kg bw since in 1979.(9)

What are the Possible Side Effects?

It is common that sometimes consumers have questions whether PDMS is bad for our health and what are the side effects in the food we eat.

Studies showed that PDMS is almost not absorbed through the skin or from the gastrointestinal tract and excreted unchanged in the faeces in rats. No acute toxicity and allergy but ocular lesions were observed. There were no adverse effects found in the researches of its carcinogenicity, teratogenicity and genetic toxicity. (10)

Therefore, it seems PDMS might have no dangers under proper usage. 

Frequently asked questions

Is it Natural?

No, we can know PDMS is synthetic from the manufacturing process mentioned above.

Is it Halal?

Yes, it is recognised as halal. 

Is it Kosher?

Yes, it is kosher pareve. It has met all the “kashruth” requirements. 

Is it Gluten free?

Yes, it is gluten free according to FDA that it does not contain wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains. 

Is it Vegan?

Generally, PDMS is vegan as the manufacturing process without the use of animal matter or products derived from animal origin. So it is considered vegan and vegetarians can eat the food with it.

Conclusion

Now you may have a knowledge of the antifoaming agent – Dimethylpolysiloxane (E900), from the following aspects:

  • Manufacturing process
  • Uses and functions in food
  • Safety and possible side effects
  • FAQs 

The antifoaming agents are less common than other categories of food additives, but do you heard of dimethylpolysiloxane before?

4 Comments

  1. Aditya
  2. Joy
  3. J. O.
  4. Irene Reeve

Reply