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What Are Sorbitan Esters and Sorbitan Monostearate Span 60?

Sorbitan esters play a critical role in stabilizing emulsions and improving the texture, shelf life, and overall quality of food products. They are found in bread, cakes, ice cream, margarine, etc. In this article, we primarily introduce span emulsifiers, with an emphasis on Span 60. We highlight its distinctive properties and discuss its wide-ranging applications in the food sector.

What Are Sorbitan Esters?

Sorbitan esters, also known as span emulsifiers, are a group of non-ionic surfactants. They are derived from the esterification of sorbitan with fatty acids. The sorbitol part in the molecular structure is a hydrophilic group, and the fatty acid part is a hydrophobic group. Because it is used as a food additive, the fatty acids used are all derived from natural oil decomposition. They are commonly used as emulsifying agents in various industries, including food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and industrial applications.

What Are Common Types of Sorbitan Esters?

The classification of Span emulsifiers is based on the type and quantity of fatty acids used in their esterification with sorbitol. Here are the common classifications:
Chemical name Raw material HLB value Types of emulsion
Sorbitan monostearate (Span20) Lauric acid + sorbitan 8.6 W/O
Sorbitan monopalmitate(Span40) Palmiticacid + sorbitan 6.7 W/O
Sorbitan monostearate (Span60) Stearicacid+ sorbitan 4.7 W/O
Sorbitan monooleate (Span80) oleic acid+ sorbitan 4.3 W/O

The HLB (Hydrophilic-Lipophilic Balance) of sorbitan esters ranges from 1.80 to 16.70, exhibiting an extremely wide range. This wide range enables Span emulsifiers to effectively emulsify and solubilize various oils and polar solvents through flexible blending and selection. Span emulsifiers offer stable performance, low toxicity, and cost-effectiveness, making them highly suitable for food-related applications. Among all sorbitan ester products, Span 60 and Span 80 are the most commonly used.

What Are the Key Properties of Sorbitan Monostearate Span 60?

Span60, also known as Sorbitan Monostearate, is a chemical compound with the molecular formula C24H46O6 and a relative molecular mass of 430.62. Its chemical structure is represented as CH3(CH2)16COO-(CH2)2O-CH2CHOHCH2OH.

Sorbitan Monostearate Span 60

Appearance and Odor: Sorbitan Monostearate is a light cream color, typically presented in powder or flake form. It has a slight odor and a mild taste. Its melting point is between 50 to 52°C.

Solubility: Sorbitan Monostearate e491 is insoluble in cold water and acetone, but it can disperse in hot water and benzene. It is soluble in ethanol, diethyl ether, methanol, aniline, carbon tetrachloride, and other organic solvents. It dissolves in mineral oil and ethyl acetate above 50°C.

Functions: Sorbitan Monostearate functions as a lipophilic emulsifier and is suitable for preparing W/O type emulsions. Its emulsification power surpasses that of other emulsifiers, although it may impart a poor flavor, thus it is often used in combination with other emulsifiers.

Stability: At room temperature, Sorbitan Monostearate Span 60 remains stable in solutions with varying pH levels, with an HLB value of 4.7. When used alone in a paste form or combination with other emulsifiers (especially those inclined towards the α-crystal form), it serves as an excellent whipping agent or aerating agent.

What is Span 60 Emulsifier Used for?

1. For use in butter, instant coffee, dry yeast, and hydrogenated vegetable oil, the maximum usage is 10.00 g/kg.
2. For use in bread, during the bread-making process, dissolve the product and directly add it to the dough. sorbitan monostearate in food can also be mixed with shortening, with a usage rate of 0.35% to 0.50% of the flour. Adding it can make the bread soft, delay aging, and significantly improve the quality of baked products.
3. For use in pastries, when combined with other emulsifiers, sorbitan monostearate e491 can evenly distribute water and butter in the pastry batter, forming a fine and dense pore structure, thereby improving the quality of the cake.
4. For use in ice cream, it can make the ice cream product firm, stable in shape, disperse fat, and provide moderate flowability. The usage rate is 0.20% to 0.30%.
5. For use in chocolate, it can prevent fat crystals from floating to the surface, forming a "bloom," which causes the surface to lose its gloss. Span60 emulsifier also prevents fat from becoming rancid, improves gloss, and enhances flavor and softness. The addition rate is generally 0.10% to 0.30% of the ingredients.
6. For use in chewing gum and candy, it can evenly disperse the ingredients, prevent sticking to teeth, and give them good flexibility and plasticity. The addition rate is 0.50% to 1.00% of the total amount.
7. In the production of margarine, sorbitan monostearate span 60 can be used as a crystal modifier to reduce the "graininess" of margarine, promote the formation of margarine, and improve the taste.

Sorbitan Esters in food

Final Words

In conclusion, the Span emulsifiers, including Span 60, offer a range of versatile and effective solutions for emulsification across the food industries.

CHEMSINO-food additive supplier is devoted to providing top-tier food emulsifiers for customers. Whether you're a large-scale food manufacturer or a small-scale producer, CHEMSINO is here to help you succeed. With our extensive range of high-quality food additives, personalized service, and unwavering commitment to excellence, we are your trusted partner in the food industry. So, feel free to reach out to us for competitive prices and free samples.
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