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What is Polysorbate 80 (E433) and Its Uses

Date:2024-04-19
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Polysorbate 80, or tween 80, is the abbreviation of “polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate”, is a synthetic compound derived from the esterification of sorbitan with ethylene oxide. It belongs to the polysorbate family of surfactants, which are widely used as emulsifiers, solubilizers, and stabilizers in various industries, including food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and personal care products. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of polysorbate 80, including its specifications, structure, properties, features, and uses.  


What Is Polysorbate 80 (E433)?


Polysorbate 80/Tween 80, or E433 is a synthetic compound with unique properties that make it valuable in various industries. Its CAS number is 9005-65-6, and its chemical formula is C64H124O26. Here are some of its key properties and structural characteristics:

Hydrophilic-Lipophilic Balance (HLB) : Polysorbate 80 has a moderate HLB value, typically ranging from 15 to 16. This balance of hydrophilicity and lipophilicity allows it to act as an effective emulsifier, facilitating the formation of stable oil-in-water emulsions.

Emulsifying PropertiesAs an emulsifier, tween 80 lowers the interfacial tension between oil and water phases, allowing them to mix more easily and form stable emulsions. It accomplishes this by adsorbing to the interface between the two phases, with its hydrophilic head facing the water phase and its lipophilic tail facing the oil phase.

Solubilizing Ability: Polysorbate 80 exhibits solubilizing properties, enabling it to dissolve hydrophobic (water-insoluble) substances in aqueous solutions. This makes it useful in pharmaceutical formulations for improving the solubility and bioavailability of poorly water-soluble drugs.

Stabilizing Effect:  In addition to its emulsifying and solubilizing properties, tween 80 acts as a stabilizer in formulations, preventing the aggregation or precipitation of particles and enhancing the stability of suspensions and emulsions over time.

CompatibilityPolysorbate 80 is compatible with a wide range of other ingredients, including oils, surfactants, and hydrophilic and hydrophobic substances. This compatibility makes it versatile and allows for its incorporation into diverse formulations across multiple industries.

Polysorbate 80 emulsifier for sale


How Is Polysorbate 80 Made?


Polysorbate 80 is synthesized through a chemical reaction involving sorbitan monostearate and ethylene oxide. Here's an overview of the process:

1. Starting Materials
The primary starting material for the synthesis of Polysorbate 80 is sorbitan monostearate, which is derived from sorbitol, a sugar alcohol. Sorbitan monostearate is a fatty acid ester with a hydrophilic (water-attracting) sorbitan head and a lipophilic (oil-attracting) stearate tail.

2. Ethoxylation
Sorbitan monostearate undergoes a process called ethoxylation, which involves the addition of ethylene oxide molecules to the molecule. Ethylene oxide is a reactive compound that reacts readily with the hydroxyl groups present in sorbitan monostearate.

3. Polymerization
As ethylene oxide molecules react with sorbitan monostearate, they form chains of repeating ethylene oxide units, leading to the formation of a polyethylene glycol (PEG) chain. This polymerization process results in the formation of Polysorbate 80, which is a mixture of sorbitan monoester ethoxylates with varying degrees of ethoxylation.

4. Purification
After the synthesis, the crude Tween 80 product undergoes purification steps to remove impurities and by-products. This may involve processes such as filtration, distillation, or chromatography to ensure the final product meets quality standards and regulatory requirements.

5. Packaging and Distribution
Once purified, the Polysorbate 80 is typically packaged into containers suitable for transportation and distribution to manufacturers in various industries, including food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and personal care products.

In short, the synthesis of Polysorbate 80 involves the ethoxylation of sorbitan monostearate, resulting in the formation of a polyethylene glycol chain attached to the sorbitan molecule. This process yields a versatile emulsifier with a wide range of applications across different sectors.

Polysorbate 80 in food

What Are Polysorbate 80 Uses?


Polysorbate 80 is a versatile compound product with numerous uses across various industries. Commonly used in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical.


Polysorbate 80 in Food

Dairy Products:
Ice cream and frozen desserts: Polysorbate 80 is often used as an emulsifier to improve the texture and prevent ice crystallization in ice cream and frozen desserts.
Processed cheeses: It may be added to processed cheese products to enhance their meltability and texture.

Baked Goods:
Bread and baked goods: Polysorbate 80 can be found in certain types of bread and baked goods to improve their texture and shelf life.
Cake mixes and frosting: It may be added to cake mixes and frosting to improve their consistency and stability.

Polysorbate 80 in bread

Sauces and Dressings:
Salad dressings: Polysorbate 80 is commonly used as an emulsifier in salad dressings to prevent separation and achieve a smooth texture.
Sauces and gravies: It may be added to sauces and gravies to improve their texture and stability.

Confectionery:
Chocolate and candy coatings: Polysorbate 80 is sometimes used in chocolate and candy coatings to improve their flow properties and prevent blooming.
Chewing gum: It may be added to chewing gum to enhance its texture and consistency.

Processed Meats:
Processed meats: Polysorbate 80 can be found in certain processed meat products, such as sausages and luncheon meats, to improve their texture and moisture retention.

Other Processed Foods:
Instant noodles: It may be added to instant noodle products to prevent the noodles from sticking together and improve their texture.
Margarine and spreads: Polysorbate 80 may be used in margarine and spreads to achieve a smooth and spreadable consistency.


Polysorbate 80 In Cosmetic  

Polysorbate 80 or Tween 80, is a versatile ingredient widely used in cosmetic and personal care products for its emulsifying, solubilizing, and stabilizing properties. As an emulsifier, it facilitates the blending of oil and water-based ingredients, ensuring stable and uniform formulations in products like creams, lotions, and serums. Additionally, Polysorbate 80 serves as a solubilizing agent, enabling the incorporation of hydrophobic substances into aqueous solutions, thus enhancing the overall solubility and efficacy of cosmetic products. Its role in texture enhancement contributes to the luxurious consistency of formulations, providing consumers with a smooth and pleasant sensory experience. Furthermore, Polysorbate 80 plays a crucial role in stabilizing cosmetic formulations, preventing ingredient separation and maintaining product integrity over time, thereby extending shelf life and ensuring efficacy. Commonly found in various skin care and hair care products, Polysorbate 80 enhances the performance of these formulations, contributing to their effectiveness and consumer satisfaction.
 

Polysorbate 80 in cosmetics

Polysorbate 80 In Pharmaceutical

Polysorbate 80 is a key ingredient in the pharmaceutical industry due to its versatile properties. Acting as a solubilizing agent, it enhances the solubility of poorly water-soluble drugs, improving their bioavailability and efficacy. Additionally, Polysorbate 80 serves as an emulsifier, ensuring the uniform dispersion of oil and water-based ingredients in formulations like suspensions and ointments. Its stabilizing effects prevent particle aggregation and maintain formulation integrity, extending shelf life. Furthermore, Polysorbate 80 plays a vital role in drug delivery systems, facilitating drug penetration and absorption. Its versatility and compatibility make it an essential excipient in various dosage forms, from oral medications to topical creams, contributing to the effectiveness and reliability of pharmaceutical products.


Is Polysorbate 80 Safe?


Polysorbate 80 is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in food and pharmaceutical products by regulatory authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). However, some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to Polysorbate 80, and its safety in long-term or high-dose exposure scenarios continues to be evaluated.
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