Determination of Dextrose Equivalent Value and Number Average Molecular Weight of Maltodextrin by Osmometry



ABSTRACT:  Dextrose equivalent (DE) value is the most common parameter used to characterize the molecular weight of maltodextrins. Its theoretical value is inversely proportional to number average molecular weight (Mn), providing a theoretical basis for correlations with physical properties important to food manufacturing, such as: hygroscopicity, the glass transition temperature, and colligative properties. The use of freezing point osmometry to measure DE and Mn was assessed. Measurements were made on a homologous series of malto-oligomers as well as a variety of commercially available maltodextrin products with DE values ranging from 5 to 18. Results on malto-oligomer samples confirmed that freezing point osmometry provided a linear response with number average molecular weight. However, noncarbohydrate species in some commercial maltodextrin products were found to be in high enough concentration to interfere appreciably with DE measurement. Energy dispersive spectroscopy showed that sodium and chloride were the major ions present in most commercial samples. Osmolality was successfully corrected using conductivity measurements to estimate ion concentrations. The conductivity correction factor appeared to be dependent on the concentration of maltodextrin. Equations were developed to calculate corrected values of DE and Mn based on measurements of osmolality, conductivity, and maltodextrin concentration. This study builds upon previously reported results through the identification of the major interfering ions and provides an osmolality correction factor that successfully accounts for the influence of maltodextrin concentration on the conductivity measurement. The resulting technique was found to be rapid, robust, and required no reagents.