Is 472e vegan?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is 472e vegan?” and will discuss its composition and properties.

Is 472e vegan?

Yes, 472e is vegan. 472e is called DATEM- Mono- And Diacetyltartaric Acid Esters of Mono- And Diglycerides of Fatty Acids. It is obtained from the vegetable oils extracted from purely plant-based sources like palm trees and sunflowers, that’s why they are vegan.

 Monoglycerides are conventionally made by chemical glycerolysis reactions of vegetable oils at high temperatures using inorganic alkaline catalysts. Around 75% of the total emulsifiers in the food industry worldwide come from monoglyceride compounds. It is estimated that the annual monoglycerides consumption in the United States was 85,000,000 Kg. Moreover, the global emulsifier market offered natural emulsifier ingredients is up to 2.6 million tons in 2017 and it is expected to grow annually (4). 

What is the use of 472E?

In general, esters of mono and diglycerides of fatty acids (E 472a-f) are esters of fatty acids occurring in food fats and oils with glycerol with one or two free hydroxyl-groups and/or with some particular acids (acetic, lactic, citric, tartaric and mono- and diacetyl tartaric). They may contain small amounts of free glycerol, free fatty acids, free acetic acid and free glycerides (1).

The mono- and diglycerides are the most widely used food-grade emulsifiers. The food-grade emulsifiers are generally esters composed of a hydrophilic (water-loving) end and a lipophilic (fat-loving) end. In general, the lipophilic end is composed of stearic, palmitic, oleic, or linoleic acid or combinations of these fatty acids. The hydrophilic end is generally composed of hydroxyl or carboxyl groups (2).

In the baking process, dough conditioners like DATEM are utilized to strengthen the gluten network. It enhances the bread’s texture while also boosting its volume. The label identifies it as “DATEM” or the more common designation “Diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and Diglycerides.”.

Composition of 472E

Mixed esters

Tartaric acid, mono- and diacetyl tartaric acids (derived from tartaric acid), and plant-sourced fatty acids make up the DATEM mixture. Vegetable oils like palm oil and sunflower oil are the most prevalent sources of stearic acid. DATEM, the result, may include any of the following: free glycerol, free glycerides, and free fatty acids (1).

472E as a carrier and anti-caking agent

472E tends to swell when exposed to water. As a result, the particle size isn’t too tiny. Meanwhile, DATEM contains calcium carbonate, tricalcium phosphate, and trisodium phosphate as a carrier and anti-caking agent.

How 472E is made?

Acetic acid esterified with tartaric acid, Glycerol, and fatty acids are the basis for synthetic DATEM. Diacetyl tartaric anhydride and mono- and Diglycerides of fatty acids from food sources may also be used to make it.

The mono- and diglycerides may be prepared by either an interesterification process with glycerine and triglycerides or a direct esterification process with fatty acids (2). First, tartaric acid reacts with acetic anhydride using an acidic catalyst in order to form diacetyl tartaric anhydride and acetic acid. Second, mono- and diglycerides react with diacetyl tartaric anhydride optionally in acetic acid and with an alkali catalyst. At the end of the process, residual acetic acid is removed by distillation under reduced pressure (1).



Wax has an acidic scent, ranging in color from off-white to pale yellow in appearance. Mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (E 472e) are sticky viscous liquids through a fat-like consistency to yellow waxes, which hydrolyse, in moist air to liberate acetic acid. It can be liquid or solid (1).


Acetic acid and water are the only solvents that can dissolve it; all other popular fat-solvent solvents, such as methanol, acetone, and ethyl acetate, are also soluble. It is dispersible in cold and hot water, soluble in methanol and ethanol. It’s water-soluble and won’t break down for a long period. The pH ranges from 2 to 3, with an HLB value of 8 to 10 for a 3% dispersion in water. It can swell in its crystalline state in the presence of water and form a-crystalline gel structures (3).

DATEM’s Purposes and Applications

When making baked goods like bread and rusks, it is mostly used to improve the texture and flavor of the dough. It may also be found in bread enhancers and pre-blended flours. Take a closer look at how it may be put to use in different situations. 

Acetylated, saturated monoglycerides of C16/C18 fatty acids form flexible films that can be stretched up to eight times their length before they break, and they are therefore used as coatings on fruits, nuts, and meat products. Due to its properties, ACETEM is also used in fats (shortenings) in aerated foods such as cakes and toppings (3).

The function of the emulsifier depends on the composition and the nature of the food to which it is added. In food containing proteins, the main function of emulsifiers in such emulsions is either to increase stability toward coalescence or creaming/precipitation during long-term storage (e.g., recombined milk, coffee whiteners, salad dressings, etc.) or to induce destabilization and increase whippability of emulsions to be aerated. In food containing starch, its role is to form a water-insoluble complex with the starch component amylose and in wheat bread it is used to reduce crumb firmness and delay the staling process. ACETEM may also be used in yeast-raised doughs to increase shock-resistance fermentation stability and enhance volume of baked products such as specialty breads (3). These are some examples of the application of this food additive (1):

Bread- Increase the fermentation and capacity of the dough, as well as its volume and crumb texture, while also enhancing its stability and gas retention.

Cake- Emulsion characteristics and a better crumb structure are provided by the cake.

Cookies- Reduce the hardness of fat-reduced biscuits without sacrificing flavor.

Donuts, pastries, and other sweets- Increase the machinability and raw material tolerance.

Coffee whitener- Stabilizing qualities of coffee whitener.

Creamy garnishes- Toppings’ stability and whipping ability may be improved.

Cheese- The texture and melting characteristics of cheese are improved by the addition of cheese.

Soups, sauces, and dressings- The emulsion and heat stability will be improved.

These are some of the other uses:

·         Icecream

·         Beverage whiteners

·         Plant-Based Nutritional Drinks

·         Sauces with emulsified ingredients

·         Tea or coffee in a can

How Safe Is 472E?

Before a food emulsifier is permitted for use in foods, it has to be tested in a number of toxicological studies including short- and long term feeding trials on several animal species together with studies on metabolism. The evaluation of emulsifiers is done by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization World Health Organization (FAO/WHO), by the commission of the European Communities’ Scientific Committee for Food (SCF), and in the United States by a department of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (3).

The FDA, EFSA, and JECFA have all given their OK to its use as a food additive (1).

Food and Drug Administration

It is permissible to use DATEM in food, provided that it is manufactured according to current good manufacturing practices and is generally regarded as safe (GRAS). In addition to its functions as an emulsifier and adjuvant, it is also utilized as a flavoring agent and emulsifier salt.

Non-alcoholic drinks, confections and frostings, dairy product analogs, and fats and oils are all included in this application.  DATEM, the emulsifying ingredient used in Animal Feed, was also declared safe by the Animal Feed FDA when used in line with good manufacturing and feeding practices (GMPs).

European Food Safety Authority

In line with Annex II and Annex III of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on Food Additives, DATEM (E 472e) is approved as a food additive in the European Union (EU) and is classified as “additives other than colors and sweeteners”

To address acetic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid, mono- and di-acetyltartaric acid, mixed acetic and tartaric acid esters of mono- and Diglycerides of fatty acids, a scientific panel on food additives and flavorings met in October of 2019. 

Harmful side effects of 472E

Consumers often wonder whether DATEM is harmful to their health and what its possible adverse effects are.

Consumers are concerned about the chemical emulsifiers in the meals they consume and want natural options. We understand this. A few health hazards, such as allergic reactions and toxicity, have been observed.

According to rat research published in 2002, DATEM may cause adrenal hyperplasia and heart muscle fibrosis.

However, many studies indicate that this emulsifier is safe. There were only a limited number of short-term and subchronic toxicity studies with E 472e available. No significant adverse effects were noted. Genotoxicity studies were available for E 472e and only in vitro. In these experiments, the compound did not show any genotoxic potential. Long-term studies on chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity are available for E 472e in rats and dogs. There was no evidence of any relevant carcinogenic effects for any of the compounds. E 472e was tested in a dietary two-generation reproductive toxicity in rats. There were no adverse effects on reproduction after administration in the diet of up to 10% of E 472e in the diet (equal to 5,700 mg/kg bw per day) (1).


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is 472e vegan?” and discussed its composition and properties.

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Zielinski, R. J. Synthesis and composition of food-grade emulsifiers. Food emulsifiers and their applications. Springer, Boston, MA, 1997. 11-38.


Krog, Niels J., and F. Vang Sparso. Food emulsifiers: their chemical and physical properties. Food emulsions, 2004, 12.


Nitbani, Febri Odel, et al. Preparation of fatty acid and monoglyceride from vegetable oil. J Oleo Sci, 2020, 69, 277-295.