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115 Hurley Road, Unit 2B Oxford, CT 06478


(203) 262-7100 (203) 262-7101 1-800-364-4416


Whats Inside:
How do Lecithins Work? Lecithin Chemistry Classifying Lecithins Labeling Lecithins 10 8 6 4

Lecithins are natural

soybean derivatives with intrinsic nutritional value and extremely important roles in manufacturing. Widely differing affinities for oil and water and low production costs make them invaluable in an amazingly broad range of processes. Lecithins help make chocolates deliciously smooth and hand lotions creamy to the touch. They are equally at home helping powdered baby

formulas dissolve instantly into water or helping paints to flow easily onto smooth or rough surfaces. American Lecithin Companys product line includes standard, modified, refined, de-oiled and fractionated lecithins, all derived by extracting and purifying phospholipids from crude soybean oil. Sold under the Alcolec brand name, most are available in liquid, granular and powder form.

Selecting Lecithins 12 About American Lecithin Company 15

L E C I TWork? N S HI
Lecithins are used mainly as emulsifiers. Their surfaceactive, water-loving (hydrophilic) or waterhating (hydrophobic) properties turn materials that do not mix easily and tend to separate into stable blends. The main types of emulsions are oil-in water (such as mayonnaise, infant formulas and hand and body lotions), and waterin-oil (such as margarines, icings and frostings and petroleum emulsions). Lecithins also have characteristics that help: Disperse powders into liquids Control the viscosity of liquids and semi-liquids Prevent foods from sticking to contact surfaces Prevent adhesion of food products to one another

How do


can be:
Release Agents
Lecithins promote separation of food from contact surfaces in dip tank, aerosol sprayer, air spray system, and other applications. Waterfilled dip tanks usually contain up to 10% de-oiled lecithin; pan or belt-release applications consist mainly of vegetable oil with 2% lecithin.

Emulsions are produced by dispersing one normally unmixable material in another by mixing, colloidal milling or homogenization. The surface-active qualities of lecithins make them effective emulsifying agents that reduce mixing time and maintain the stability of the dispersion.

What are HLB Values?

Emulsification properties of different lecithins are a function of their water- or fat-loving qualities, known in the industry as HydrophilicLipophilic Balance or HLB. See the chart on page 12 for HLB values for ALC products.

Wetters and Instantizers

Lecithins provide fast, complete wetting of powders into aqueous systems. Low-fat powders require lecithins with lower HLB values (see note at right) to retard wetting rates; fatty powders require higher HLB values.

Separating Agents
When applied directly to products such as processed cheese slices, lecithin helps form a stable film barrier that prevents them from sticking together. When used directly in products such as baked goods, they enhance the ability to cut and shape products and reduce sticking to mixing vessels.

Viscosity Modifiers
Lecithins greatly reduce the surface tension of fats, enabling particles of chocolate, sugar and milk products to be coated, improving flow- and mix-ability. Typical usage levels are 0.2 0.6% of total product weight.

Nutritional Supplements
Lecithins have nutritional value of their own. The phospholipids they contain are considered essential nutrients for proper functioning of the human body.

L EChemistryI N S CITH
When using lecithins as emulsifiers, they should always be added in the oil phase first. Heating to 120o F helps dispersion and can improve handling and mixing characteristics. Oil-in-water emulsions typically include lecithin at 5 10%, and waterin-oil emulsions at 1 5%, of the oils weight. Most food products contain from 1 2% salt; higher levels may affect lecithin functionality.

Most of the

performance benefits of soybeanbased lecithins come from the unique hydrophilic or hydrophobic surface-active properties of phospholipids, their primary component.

These phospholipids typically contain: Phosphatidylcholine (PC, 1318%) Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE, 10 15%) Phosphatidylinositol (PI, 1015%) Phosphatidic acid (PA, 512%)

In addition to phospholipids, soybean lecithins conParticle size affects lecithin tain triglycerides, sterols, requirements in wetting and instantizing applications. small quantities of fatty Larger particles have less acids, carbohydrates and surface area and usually require up to 0.25% sphingolipids. Fractionating lecithination; smaller (breaking up) these complex particles typically require up to 2%. mixtures, or adding elements such as refined oils or other surfactants, When using lecithins as separating agents can create new products tailored for via direct incorporaspecific applications. De-oiling of tion in such products as baked goods, lecithin enhances the typical phosreview regulatory pholipid composition as depicted in issues to comply with FCC standards the chart below. of identity.

Standard Liquid Lecithin

H2O (1%) PC (16%)

De-Oiled Lecithin*
H2O (1%) Triglycerides (3%)

Triglycerides (37%)

PC (24%) PE (13%) PE (20%) PI (10%) PA (7%) PA (5%)

PI (14%)

Minor Phospholipids (2%) Complexed Sugars (5%) 6 Glycolipids (11%)

Glycolipids (15%) Complexed Sugars (8%) *Granular or powdered form; most triglycerides and free fatty acids are removed.

Minor Phospholipids (8%)


Lecithin products are classified using attributes such as color, viscosity, and the percentages of certain types of materials they contain. The terms used when specifying lecithins are:
Alcolec: S BS XTRA-A Z-3 Z-7 Aquasperse A LV-30 439-C Granules F-100 FF-100 PG 40-P EM Lexin K HWS 30-A Fluid Fluid Fluid Fluid Fluid Fluid Fluid Fluid Granular Powder Fine Powder Granular Powder Powder Solid Powder* Powder** 62% min 62% min 66% min 58% min 58-64% 47-52% 50-54% 50% min 97% min 97% min 97% min 98% min 97% min 97% min 75-79% N/A N/A 32 max 32 max 25 max <38 18-30 13-21 25 max 30 max 36 max 36 max 36 max 36 max 28 max 36 max 36 max N/A N/A 17 max 14 max 17 max 12 max 12 max 14 max 14 max N/A tan/yel tan/yel tan/yel tan/yel tan/yel tan 14 max tan tan/yel .1% max 1% max .1% max 1% max .1% max .8% max .05% max 1.5% max .05% max 1.5% max .02% max .8% max .01% max .8% max .1% max 1% max .02% max 1% max .02% max 1% max .02% max 1% max .01% max 1% max 1.2% max N/A .3% max 1.5% max 1% max .1% max N/A N/A N/A N/A 12,000 cP max 12,000 cP max 15,000 cP max Heavy bodied fluid Heavy bodied fluid 2,500 cP max 1,500 cP max N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Physical State AI AV Color HI Moisture Viscosity

Acetone Insolubles (AI)

Expressed as a percentage. This is a measure of the surface-active portion of a lecithin, comprised mainly of phospholipids and glycolipids.

Hexane Insolubles (HI)

Expressed as a percentage (usually under 0.1%). Measures residual nonfatty material, composed mainly of soybean meal fines.

Acid Value (AV)

Moisture (H2O)
Measured by the Karl Fisher method, a potentiometric titration specific for water. Powder and liquid lecithins typically contain less than 1% water.

Expressed as meq KOH/kg. This is a measure of total acidity afforded by ionizable groups of phospholipids and free, fatty acids added to some liquid lecithins to stabilize viscosity.

* Wheat starch carrier ** Corn flour carrier

Measured against the Gardner scale. Most lecithin products range from having a light honey (11 on the scale) to dark amber (17 on the scale) color.

Reported in centipoise at 25oC/77oF, after evaluation with a Brookfield rotary viscometer, a widely-used technique.


ALC lecithins are all-natural, soy-based and kosher for a variety of food and other applications. The association with good health adds value on product labels The word soy usually prefaces lecithin as an ingredient as a convenience for consumers and food processors interested in source labeling ingredients. The chart at right shows typical nutritional information associated with soy lecithin. Contact us for nutritional profiles for individual lecithin products.

Soy Lecithin Nutritional Profile Granular Form

(without flow agent)

Labeling Terminology
Liquid Form 790 620 69 14

Nutritional Summary
(per 100 grams product)

As natural products, lecithins are considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA, under 21 CFR 184.1400 and specifications of the Food Chemicals

Calories Calories From Fat Total Fat (g.) Saturated Fat (g.) Approximate Fatty Acid Composition
(per 100 grams product)

700 480 53 12

Monounsaturated (oleic, 18:1) (g.) Polyunsaturated (g.) (linoleic, 18:2) (g.) (linoleic, 18:3) (g.) Saturated (g.) (palmitic, 16:0) (g.) (stearic, 18:0) (g.) Primary Acetone Insolubles
(per 100 grams product)

5 33 30 3 12 10 2

12 40 36 4 14 11 3

Codex (FCC). The FDA-preferred designation is Soy Lecithin, although Lecithin is often used. Chemically modified lecithins sometimes require special labeling. When hydroxylated, they should be identified as Hydroxylated Soy Lecithin or Hydroxylated Lecithin. When enzymatically modified, the phrase Enzymatically Modified Lecithin should appear on labels.

Phosphatidylcholine (g.) Phosphatidylethanolamine (g.) Phosphatidylinositol (g.)

24 20 14

16 13 10




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This chart can help you determine which ALC Alcolec products are best suited for your applications. More information follows in the Solvent Solubility Index on the next page.

Typical Uses Food

Chocolate, margarine Baked goods, cheese products, confections, dairy products, dietetic & instant foods, margarine & shortening, meats & poultry, processing & coatings Cheese products, dairy products, instant foods Oil-based aerosol spray release applications, instantizing, griddle/skillet release Chewing gum base Paints, coatings, textiles Cake mixes, cookies, low-fat cookies, crackers, pizza crust, waffles/pancakes, cheese sauces, chewing gum, colors, frostings, granola bars, ice cream, frozen desserts, cones, instantizing, meat sauces, gravies, canned meat products, milk powders, non-dairy creamers Animal feeds, ceramic & glass, cosmetics & soaps, dyes

waterin-oil 2.0 4.0 Alcolec XTRA-A Alcolec S

Add s

Inks, paint & coatings, textiles Adhesives, absorbents, detergents, dust control, dyes, fertilizers, inks, masonry & asphalt, metal processing, paint & coatings, paper, pesticides, petroleum/oils, polymers/rubber, textiles Cosmetics & soaps, detergents, dyes, paper

Physical Properties
Oil soluble Oil soluble

4.0 4.0

Alcolec BS Alcolec LV-30

4.0 5.6 7.0

Alcolec Lexin-K Alcolec 439-C AlcolecGranules, F-100, FF-100

Oil soluble Easily sprayable, low viscosity, oil soluble Low flavor Water dispersible Dry blendable, low flavor, oil soluble, water dispersible

HLB Value

7.0 8.0

Alcolec PG Alcolec 40-P

9.0 9.0 10.0

Alcolec EM Alcolec Z-3 Alcolec Z-7

12.0 N/A oil-inwater

Alcolec Aquasperse A Alcolec HWS

Functional food applications where a higher choline content is desired

Magnetic tape, cosmetics, soaps, skin care

Dry blendable, low flavor, oil soluble, water dispersible Higher choline content, low flavor, water dispersible Dry blendable, low flavor, oil soluble, water dispersible

Baked goods, starch-based sauces, puddings Baked goods, instant foods, instantizing, milk powders Salad dressing, release (water based), flavors, colors, cocoa, cakes Instantizing, flavors, belt release Piecrusts, cakes, cake mixes, biscuits, cookies, sugar wafers, cones Piecrusts, cakes, cake mixes, cookies, sugar wafers, cones Cosmetics & soaps, dyes, leather

Oil soluble, water dispersible Oil soluble, water dispersible

Easily sprayable, low viscosity, water dispersible For ease of incorporation


Alcolec 30-A

For ease of incorporation



Use levels are usually 0.2% - 1.0% based on finished product weight. If no specific information is available, start with 0.5% of finished product and adjust as necessary.



Oil-Free Fluid Hydroxylated

Water D Acetone I Solvent Solubility Index for Acetonitrile I Alcolec Lecithins Benzene S Chlorodifluoromethane S Chloroform S Cyclohexanone S This chart gives general Diethyl Ether S information about the Dimethyl Sulfoxide I solubility of various Dioxane I Alcolec products in a Ethanol I wide range of Ethyl Acetate I solvents. Glycerine I Oil-free lecithin Heptanol S includes Alcolec Hexane S Iso-amyl Alcohol I Granules/F-100/ lsooctane S FF-100 and PG. Isopropyl Ether S Fluid lecithin Kerosene S includes Alcolec S Methanol I and BS. Methylene Chloride S Hydroxylated lecithin Methyl Ethyl Ketone I includes Alcolec Z-3 Methyl Isobutyl Ketone S Mineral Spirits S and Z-7. Petroleum Ether S Propylene Glycol I Pyridine S D - Dispersible by Tetrahydrouse of hot furan S water, slightly Toluene alkalized S



ince 1928, ALC has been committed to advancing natural soybean lecithin technology and providing the very best products and services available.


Introducing the Alcolec product line early in its history, ALC set an industry standard for quality and consistency. Advancements continued through performance chemistry the modification of lecithins basic properties to create new products that perform better in broader uses. Adding lecithin fractionation technology in the 1980s enabled ALC to offer the broadest, most versatile product line on the market. Our long history and continuing commitment to help you with general or s p e c i f i c aspects of commercial applications make us the ideal partner for any lecithinrelated project. For additional general information about ALC and our products, visit our website: Have questions? Contact us directly:


115 Hurley Road, Unit 2B Oxford, CT 06478 Phone: (203) 262-7100 Fax: (203) 262-7101 Toll-Free: 1-800-364-4416 e-mail: customerservice


Insoluble Soluble at 10% (w/w) at 25C