Introduction to dextran as food ingredient

Dextran was initially studied in the 1950s as food ingredient, particularly as a thickener. The US Food and Drug Administration currently lists dextran as GRAS (Generally regarded as safe) as ingredient for food and feed applications. In 2001, the European Commission approved the use of dextran in baked goods, up to levels of 5%

Bakery Products

The incorporation of dextran into bakery products improves softness, crumb texture and loaf volume. The addition of 2% native dextran increases the water absorption of flour dough by about 12%.


Dextrans have also been used as additives in products such as candy and ice creams. It has been used as a stabiliser for confectionery where its presence prevents crystallisation, improves moisture retention, increases viscosity and maintains flavour attributes. Its use is also proposed in soft drinks, flavour extract, milk beverages and icing.

Ice cream

As an edible substance, dextrans are bland odourless, tasteless and nontoxic. They are considered to have many advantages over other ice cream stabilisers. Tests performed on ice cream mixes containing 2-4% dextran indicated that it conferred beneficial properties on the product viscosity.

Cheese-making: reduced-fat cheese

Fat reduction is associated with many textural and functional defects in cheese. The high casein content in reduced-fat cheese imparts a firm and rubbery body and texture. EPS, in particular, Dextran, is a good candidate for reduced-fat cheese making for several reasons. It has the ability to bind water and increase the moisture in the non-fat substance with no need to modify the cheese-making protocol. This is an important function because fat reduction results in lower moisture in non-fat products.

Frozen and Dried foods

The favourable properties of dextran for stabilising vacuum packed, air dried, and freeze-dried or frozen foods enable its use in fish products, meat, vegetables and cheese surfaces. A film of dextran could protect food from oxidation and other chemical changes also helping to preserve texture and flavour. The increasing demand for fast food and table ready dishes in a frozen or dried state creates an opportunity for the use of dextran as a food preservative, as well as a texture, flavour and scent enhancer.

Waste water management

Dextran finds a wide range of application in waste water management. Many industries are searching for environmentally acceptable products for treating waste water effluent. Dextran offers many useful features like the stabilisation of alkali and acids at room temperature. It binds metal ions at an alkaline pH and is biodegradable and economical. It is used extensively in waste water treatment during the flocculation process.

Microcapsule formation

NEXTDEXT® should be used as natural substrate to realize microcapsule for targeted delivery to increase bioavailability of main active ingredients.
Design your new tailor-made polymer with different molecular weights (shapes, structures and with the functional groups needed for coupling at the desired positions in the chain), based on dextran conjugation!
Dextran prodrugs are very useful systems for achieving controlled drug release and drug targeting.
Why don’t use a natural polymer as carrier to obtain novel and efficient drug delivery systems?

PREBIOTIC EFFECT: an added value!

NEXTDEXT® shows resistance to physiological barriers and boosts gut bacteria populations with positive effects on human intestinal tract. 

Interactions between dietary factors, gut microbiota and host metabolism are increasingly demonstrated to be important for maintaining homeostasis and health.
NEXTDEXT® has also a PREBIOTIC effect to realize new functional foods!