What is Sodium Gluconate (E576) in food and other uses?

Uses | Specification | Property | Safety | FAQs 

Sodium gluconate or sodium d-gluconate, the sodium salt of gluconic acid with the European food additive number E576, is different with other gluconates that can be used as a nutrient, this ingredient is mainly used as a chelating agent and cleaner in food and industrial uses

What’re the Uses of Sodium gluconate?

It is a multi-functional ingredient that can be used in a lot of fields, commonly used for its outstanding chelating property in food and industrial uses. Also used for its PH buffering and taste improvement in food.

Food

Food grade sodium gluconate can be used as: 

  • A sequestrant agent by chelating undesirable metal ions.
  • A PH buffer in drink.
  • A taste improver for beverage by masking off-notes or reducing the bitterness/aftertaste from artificial sweeteners, soybean protein, minerals or caffeine. 
  • A stabilizer in meat products by increasing meat water-binding capacity and improving its firmness and sliceability. Meanwhile, sodium gluconate is a replacement of phosphates. (1)

Pharma & Nutraceutical

It can be used as an excipient as a buffer and pH adjuster in the following products (2):

  • Syrups
  • Suspension
  • Swallowable/orally dispersible tablets
  • Hard capsules
  • Others 

Cosmetics

Sodium gluconate functions as a chelating and skin conditioning in cosmetic and personal care products. (3)

And usually we can find it in skin care products like face cream, soap, and toothpaste.

Industrial uses 

Chelating agent

With good sequestering power (over EDTA, NTA and some other related compounds) to combine with di- and trivalent metal ions, such as calcium, iron, copper, aluminium to form stable chelates and take them out of water or the solution at an alkaline pH, and with little effect on temperature.

Due to this property, it is widely used in: 

  • Water treatment 
  • Bottle washing
  • Corrosion inhibition
  • Metal surface treatment
  • Industrial cleaning

Concrete retarder

In addition, it can be used in the construction industry, as a retarding cement enhancing additive. (4)

Specification

Other names
  • Sodium d-gluconate
  • Sodium salt of D-gluconic acid
CAS number 527-07-1
Chemical formula NaC6H11O7
Molecular weight 218.137

Structure

Sodium gluconate chemical structure

Image Source

There are five hydroxyl groups and a carboxylic acid group in the chemical structure. 

Properties

Appearance

A white to tan powder or granular. 

Solubility

Very soluble in water, sparingly soluble in ethanol.

PH

Between 6.5 and 7.5 (10 % solution) (5)

Is Sodium gluconate Safe to Eat?

Yes, it has been approved safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), as well as the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). 

FDA

Sodium gluconate is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) when used as a sequestrant in food. (6)

EFSA

Sodium gluconate (E576) is listed in Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012 as an authorised food additive and categorized in “ additives other than colours and sweeteners” (7).

Approved uses

It is classified into “Group I” with the maximum use levels “quantum satis”, which means there is no specific limit in its uses. The following food may contain it (8): 

  • Dairy products 
  • Fats and oils and fat and oil emulsions 
  • Fruit and vegetables 
  • Confectionery 
  • Cereals and cereal products 
  • Bakery wares 
  • Meat 
  • Fish and fisheries products 
  • Eggs and egg products 
  • Table-top sweeteners 
  • Salts, spices, soups, sauces, salads and protein products 
  • Beverages

UK Food Standards Agency

Categorized in “Others” (9)

Food Standards Australia New Zealand 

It is approved ingredient in Australia and New Zealand with the code number 576. (10)

JECFA

Function Class: food additives, sequestrant, yeast food. (11

Acceptable daily intake: ADI “not specified” set together with glucono delta-lactone, and other gluconates in 1998. (12)

Frequently asked questions

How is it made?

Sodium gluconate can be synthesized from the reaction of gluconic acid ( produced by oxidation of D-glucose, derived from starch) and sodium hydroxide.

Is it gluten free? 

Yes, it is gluten free as it does not contain wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains, therefore can be used for people with celiac disease.

Gluconic acid vs sodium gluconate?

Gluconic acid is the liquid, not convenient to use in some applications, and where it is combined used with sodium hydroxide, better to use sodium gluconate directly.

Conclusion

Now you may have a knowledge of the chelating agent – sodium gluconate (E576), from the following aspects:

  • Manufacturing process
  • Uses
  • Safety
  • FAQs

What kinds of food labels have you found this additive in? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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