What is Mono and Diglycerides E471 in Food? Uses, Safe, Side Effects

What is Mono and Diglycerides E471 in Food? Uses, Safe, Side Effects


Table of Contents

Mono and diglycerides are emulsifiers and texture-enhancers. They are very often used in oil-and-vinegar dressings, frozen products, gravies and puddings and chocolate. Mono And Diglycerides may be labeled as “E471”. This article will give you insight on what they are, what they do, where they are found, dosage, side effects and other relevant information you should know.

What is mono and diglycerides?

Mono and Diglycerides are the same thing. They are an em

ulsifier that keeps oils from separating out of water-based products. The name Mono and Diglycerides can be a bit confusing because Mono refers to only one type of molecule, while Diglycerides is the same thing as Mono and Glycerin.

Mono and Diglycerides are also known as E471.

Mono and Diglycerides have many uses in food manufacturing. In baked goods they help keep moisture in baked goods and prevent them from drying out. In ice cream they keep the ice crystals small so they melt quickly on your tongue, giving you a creamy texture instead of large crystals that feel chunky when you eat them. They also help make frosting smooth so it doesn’t stick to your fingers when you lick them after eating some cupcakes!

Types of mono and diglycerides

These are the common types of mono and diglycerides (with the only difference being the fatty acids):

  • Glycerol monostearate: Glycerol monostearate (E472) is a white, odorless powder that is a mixture of diglycerides. It has been used as an emulsifier in food since the 1950s, and is most commonly used in baked goods and confectionery products. It is also used in some cosmetics and pharmaceuticals as a suspending agent.
  • Glycerol monopalmitate: Glycerol monopalmitate (E471) is a mixture of diglycerides with palmitic acid esters. It has similar properties to glycerol monostearate, but is more effective at stabilizing emulsions at higher temperatures. It is found in baked goods and confectionery products.
  • Glycerol monooleate: Glycerol monooleate (E473e) is a mixture of diglycerides with oleic acid esters. This compound has similar properties to other glycerol mono-oleates, but it can be used at higher temperatures than its counterparts because it does not hydrolyze as readily under heat. It can be found in baked goods and confectionery products.
  • Glycerol monolaurate: Glyceryl monolaurate (E475) is a mixture of diglycerides with lauric acid esters. This compound has properties similar to those of other glycerol monolaurates.
  • Glycerol monoricinoleate: Glycerol monoricinoleate is used in personal care products such as shampoos and conditioners to help reduce the stickiness of these products when they come into contact with hair or skin.

Although these products only contain one fatty acid and have “mono” after it in their names, they actually contain a mixture of mono- and diglycerides, as well as triesters.

Esters Of Mono and Diglycerides

Esters of monoglycerides and diglycerides are esters of glycerin (glycerol) with fatty acids. They are used as emulsifiers, humectants and thickeners in cosmetics and personal care products.

Glycerin is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is sweet tasting. It occurs naturally in plants and animals as well as being produced commercially from fats and oils. Glycerin is also used as a solvent for food flavorings, flavors and fragrances. Esters of mono-and diglycerides are used in foods to prevent crystallization at low temperatures.

Glycerin is an excellent skin emollient that helps keep the skin supple by retaining moisture in the skin’s outer layer (stratum corneum). It also helps increase the thickness of the stratum corneum which helps prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL) or dehydration of the skin. Glycerin has a very mild humectant effect so it can help prevent excessive dryness by drawing water into dry areas on the skin’s surface.

Mono and diglycerides is also possible to produce ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides from mono- and diglycerides and combine them with other food grade acidulants (acetic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, or tartaric acid) to produce another category of emulsifiers – E472:

  1. Acetic acid esters of mono-, diglycerides of fatty acids (E472a, ACETEM)
  2. Lactic acid esters of mono-, diglycerides of fatty acids (E472b, LACTEM)
  3. Citric acid esters of mono-, diglycerides of fatty acids (E472c, CITREM)
  4. tartaric acid esters of mono-, diglycerides of fatty acids (E472d, TATEM)
  5. Mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono-, diglycerides of fatty acids (E472e, DATEM)
  6. Mixed acetic and tartaric acid esters of mono-, diglycerides of fatty acids (E472f, MATEM)

What are mono and diglycerides made of?

As mentioned above, the composition mainly consists of the following three components:

  1. Monoglycerides
  2. Diglycerides
  3. Triglycerides

In addition, it may contain small quantities of glycerol and free fatty acids.

Among monoglycerides and diglycerides, monoglycerides are derived from glycerol (E422) esterification with one fatty acid (E570), while diglycerides are formed from glycerol reaction with two fatty acids.


Monoglycerides are what give food a creamy texture. They are made by adding glycerin to vegetable oils. The glycerin causes the oil to thicken, so it can be used in place of animal fats.

Monoglycerides are formed by esterifying glycerol with palmitic acid, a saturated fatty acid.


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Diglycerides are also called diglycerol esters. They are made by adding glycerin to vegetable oils, but they add a double bond between two carbon atoms on the fatty acid chain. This makes them more stable than monoglycerides and also reduces their ability to thicken foods.

A diglyceride is obtained by esterifying glycerol with a saturated fatty acid – palmitic acid (blue color), and an unsaturated fatty acid – elaidic acid (green color).


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Triglycerides are made up of three molecules of fatty acids joined together by ester bonds. These molecules can be separated into single fatty acids (monoglycerides), double fatty acids (diglycerides), or triple fatty acids (triglycerides).

Monoglycerides and Diglycerides Percentages

It is common for commercial food grades of mono- and diglycerides to contain 40%, 60%, or 90% monoglycerides.

Below is a table from the EFSA regarding the composition (% by weight) of monoglycerides, diglycerides, triglycerides and others in different food grades of mono and diglycerides of fatty acids.


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How are mono and diglycerides made?

Mono and diglycerides are fatty acids that are derived from glycerin, which is a byproduct of soap production. In this article, we’ll discuss how these compounds are made and what they’re used for.

Soap is made by combining a base (such as sodium hydroxide) with fats and oils. The resulting product is called saponified fat or soap. The soap is then rinsed away and the remaining glycerol extracted from it using water. Glycerol can be further processed to produce mono- and diglycerides by reacting it with food-grade phosphoric acid and adding a catalyst (such as calcium chloride).

Mono- and diglycerides are used in food preparation because they have the ability to stabilize emulsions and prevent separation between fats and watery liquids like milk or egg yolks. They also help increase the shelf life of foods because they act as preservatives that inhibit bacterial growth by lowering the pH level in foods such as salad dressings or dips that contain vinegar or citrus juice (which has a low pH). They’re also added to baked goods like cakes or cookies to keep them moist during storage.

Transesterification Process

Mono-glycerol esters are created by the process of transesterification. This is a process that converts fatty acids into mono-glycerol esters. The process can be done in one step or two separate steps. The first step is to convert mono-glycerides into di-glycerides and the second step is to convert di-glycerides into monoglycerides.

The first step requires a catalyst such as sodium methoxide, potassium methoxide or lithium chloride. The second step requires an alkaline catalyst such as potassium carbonate or potassium hydroxide.

The reaction begins with mixing the fatty acids and glycerol under high temperatures in the presence of an alkali catalyst. This causes the glycerol to react with the fatty acids and form di-glycerides which are then separated from excess glycerol by distillation. The excess glycerol is then recovered by distillation before being recycled back into the original reaction mixture where it reacts again with more fatty acids to form more di-glycerides through another round of transesterification reactions until all available free fatty acids have been reacted with available free glycerol.

As for the equilibrium reactions, they are as follows:


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Direct Esterification Process

Mono and diglycerides are used in a wide range of applications, including bakery products, beverages, confections and dairy products. Production begins with the reaction of glycerol and fatty acids to produce an ester of glycerol. The process is carried out in two steps:

The first step involves the reaction of glycerol and fatty acids to produce mono- and diglycerides (MIG) by transesterification. MIG can then be converted into partial or fully hydrogenated vegetable oils for use in food applications.

The reaction equation is as follows:


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The second step is a direct esterification reaction between MIG from Step 1 and propylene oxide (PO). This step produces PO-glycerol esters (PGE), which can be further processed into PO-fatty acid esters (PAE).


Below is a list of common vegetable sources of fatty acids and glycerol:

  • Palm oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Cottonseed oil

Fatty Acids

There are several common fatty acids, including:

  • Stearic acid
  • Palmitic acid
  • Lauric acid
  • Linoleic acid
  • Myristic acid
  • Oleic acid


In addition to being known as glycerol, it is also called glycerine or glycerin. There are three hydroxyl groups in glycerol that can be esterified with one, two, or three fatty acids to form monoglycerides, diglycerides, and triglycerides.


A multi-functional ingredient, it can be used in pharmaceuticals and food as a sweetener, humectant, and thickener.


Other Names
  • Mono- and diglyceride esters
  • Mixed mono- and diglycerides
  • Mono- and diglycerides of edible fat-forming acids
  • Monoacylglycerol (MAG) and diacylglycerol (DAG)
CAS Number Variable
Chemical formula Variable
Molecular Weight Variable



Both liquid and solid forms are available:

  • Liquid: An oily liquid that ranges from pale yellow to pale brown in color
  • Solid: A white flake, powder, or bead


Not soluble in water, but soluble in fat.



Hydrophilic – Lipophilic Balance (HLB)

Mono and diglycerides are ingredients that are used to increase the thickness of a product, such as a paste or liquid. They can also be used to add emollient properties to a product.

Mono and diglycerides are made from oils, fats and waxes that have been combined with glycerin. The result is a mixture that can be used in many different types of products.

There are two classes of mono and diglycerides: hydrophilic and lipophilic. The difference between them is their HLB (hydrophilic-lipophilic balance). When you mix liquids together, they interact by forming hydrogen bonds between each other. The more hydrogen bonds that are formed between liquids, the greater the attraction between them will be.

Hydrophilic means water-loving; lipophilic means fat-loving. A hydrophilic ingredient has a low HLB value (below 10), while a lipophilic ingredient has an HLB value of over 10.

What is mono and diglyceride used for?

Mono and diglycerides are a type of fat used in baking as well as in food manufacturing. They are used to make products like margarine, shortening and many other foods.

The uses of mono and diglycerides are:

  • Bread: These are used to keep the bread fresh and soft for a longer period of time.
  • Cake mix: They are used in cake mixes to keep the cake moist and soft throughout its shelf life.
  • Margarine: It is used as an emulsifier that prevents oil from separating from water phase in margarine production process so that it can be easily spreadable on bread or toast without melting immediately after application in mouth.
  • Cream & Creamers: These are also used as emulsifiers to prevent cream from separating into liquid phase during manufacturing process of creams and creamer products like coffee whitener, liquid creamer etc., so they can be used directly instead of using milk or cream directly without mixing with water first before use, which is not convenient for many people, especially for those who like their coffee with cream but do not have time to prepare it at home or in the office canteen.
  • Ice cream: Mono- and diglycerides help give ice cream its creamy texture and reduce the melting point of the product. Ice cream manufacturers use them to reduce costs by reducing the amount of butterfat required to make the product. They also improve texture by reducing some of its melting point so that it stays firm longer when exposed to heat or warm air.
  • Spreads & Butter: Mono- and diglycerides are added to spreads such as margarine to improve their consistency. These fats help stabilize vegetable oils in spreads so that they don’t separate from each other during processing or storage. They also help keep these products smooth when exposed to heat during cooking or baking. In some cases, mono- and diglycerides may be used instead of butter in baked goods because they can withstand higher temperatures without becoming rancid.
  • Cheese: The mono-diglycerides are also used for making cheese products like curd, cottage cheese, paneer etc., which are made from milk by curdling it with an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. They help in achieving desired consistency by preventing separation of fat particles with water molecules during processing at high temperatures (about 88° C). This prevents formation of large fat globules which give a grainy texture in the final product like curd etc., leading to better mouthfeel and shelf life of these products a better taste and shelf life.
  • Desserts: Mono-and diglycerides can be used to stabilize ice cream so it retains its shape after being scooped out of the freezer and prevents water from separating out of the mixture during storage. They also prevent fat from separating out of frozen desserts such as sorbets and gelatos.

Are mono and diglycerides safe to eat?

There is no question about the quality of this ingredient. It is approved by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), as well as the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).


Mono and diglycerides are a type of fat that is added to processed food, especially baked goods. They are used as emulsifiers, which prevent fats from separating from other ingredients.

Mono and diglycerides are also found naturally in some foods, including egg yolks and dairy products.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), mono- and diglycerides are safe for most people when consumed at levels not exceeding 1 gram per serving (the serving size is usually listed on the label). The FDA also states that these ingredients do not require labeling as trans fat if their content is less than 0.5 grams per serving.


Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids (E471) are listed as authorised food additives in Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012 as “Additive other than colours and sweeteners”.

Approved uses

Application is categorized under Group I, with a usage pattern of “not limited” separately. Among the foods that may contain it are:

  • Unflavoured pasteurised cream
  • Fats, oils (free from water)
  • Bread and rolls
  • Processed potato products
  • processed eggs and egg products
  • Jam, jellies, marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée
  • Cocoa and Chocolate products
  • Pasta
  • Quick-cook rice
  • Table-top sweeteners in tablets
  • Infant formulae

Safety re-evaluation in 2017

According to EFSA, mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids use as a food additive do not pose safety concerns and no numerically acceptable daily intake (ADI) is required. These studies explored their genotoxic, carcinogenic, reproductive, and developmental effects.

UK Food Standards Agency

This item is categorized under “Others”

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

With the code number 471, it is an approved ingredient in Australia and New Zealand.


Function Class: food additives and emulsifier.

Acceptable daily intake: In 1973, ADI released its “not limited” set.

What is the side effects of mono and diglycerides?

Mono and diglycerides are a type of fat-based emulsifier found in many processed foods, including salad dressings, processed meats and vegetable oils. They’re often used to enhance the flavor of processed foods, but they can also cause side effects when consumed in large amounts.

Side effects of mono-diglycerides may include:

  • Abdominal cramps or pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Gas or bloating

Is it true that mono and diglycerides contain trans fatty acids?

Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that is made by partially hydrogenating vegetable oils. Trans fats are used in food because they have a longer shelf life and make foods more palatable. They were first introduced into the food supply in 1911, when Proctor & Gamble began marketing Crisco as a product that could be used for frying, baking and other uses.

Trans fats have been proven to be unhealthy and were banned from use in foods by the FDA in 2015, but they still exist in some products. For example, mono- and diglycerides contain trans fats because they are made from partially hydrogenated oils that contain trans fat molecules.

Mono- and diglycerides are common ingredients found in baked goods and other processed foods. They are derived from plant oils or animal fats through an enzymatic process called esterification or partial hydrogenation. This process creates trans fatty acids that can be added to foods as emulsifiers, stabilizers or preservatives.

In what Way do Trans Fatty Acids Occur?

Trans fatty acids are formed when liquid vegetable oils are heated to a high temperature in the presence of hydrogen gas. The hydrogen gas changes some of the carbon atoms from their normal straight configuration to a kinked trans-shape. This trans-fatty acid can then be incorporated into food products, such as margarine and shortening.

The process that produces trans fatty acids is called hydrogenation, and it’s used for making many other common foods, too: fried foods, baked goods and some salad dressings contain trans fats.

Trans fats increase the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood, which increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. They also lower your good cholesterol (HDL). Trans fats also increase inflammation throughout your body. Inflammation contributes to many chronic diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Trans Fatty Acids Health Risk

Trans fatty acids may increase the risk of coronary heart disease. The effect is small, so the overall risk remains low.

Trans fats are found in processed foods such as margarines and ready-to-eat meals, baked goods and snack foods. They are produced by hydrogenation of vegetable oils to make them more solid at room temperature. This process also makes them less likely to spoil and more suitable for use in cakes, biscuits and pastries.

Trans fat consumption has been associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). A high intake of trans fat has also been linked to other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity.

In recent years many countries have taken steps to reduce the amount of trans fats in processed foods. These include mandatory labelling laws or voluntary commitments by food manufacturers.

What is ethoxylated mono and diglycerides?

Ethoxylated Mono and Diglycerides are a surfactant or a surface active agent. They are used to create a uniform distribution of the ingredients in a product. They also help to thicken a product without adding any additional weight or texture.

Ethoxylated Mono and Diglycerides are derived from fatty acids and alcohols, which makes them an emulsifier. Emulsifiers are used to help other ingredients mix together in order to create a uniform product with no separation between layers. They help to keep oil and water-based products together, which is why they are often used in soaps and shampoos, as well as lotions, creams and hair conditioners.

The term ethoxylation refers to the process of adding ethylene oxide groups onto another substance for various purposes, such as creating surfactants like Ethoxylated Mono and Diglycerides.

Where do mono and diglycerides come from?

Mono and diglycerides are a great combination of fatty acids that are used as an emulsifier in food manufacturing. They are also used to help with certain types of food allergies, such as peanut allergies.

Mono and diglycerides come from vegetable sources and are typically created by adding glycerin to vegetable oil, which causes the glycerin molecule to split into two separate molecules. These two new molecules are mono-glycerides and di-glycerides. Both of these molecules can then be used as food additives in products that require emulsifiers or stabilizers.

The most popular source of mono-diglycerides is palm oil. However, they can also be produced from soybean oil or hydrogenated cottonseed oil (also known as hydroxylated cottonseed oil).

Mono-diglyceride emulsifiers play an important role in making foods like mayonnaise, salad dressings and ice cream smooth and creamy by stabilizing their texture during processing and storage. They also help prevent fats from separating out of mixes during cooking or preparation processes.

What are mono and diglycerides made from?

Mono and diglycerides are emulsifiers that are used in a variety of foods, including baked goods, candies, sauces and dressings. These compounds are produced when glycerin is hydrolyzed with the use of sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. This reaction results in the creation of mono- and diglycerides.

The process for making these compounds begins with glycerin production. Glycerin is an organic compound that occurs naturally as part of the process of producing soap from fats or oils known as saponification.

What is mono and diglycerides of fatty acids?

Mono and diglycerides of fatty acids are a mixture of fatty acids that are used as emulsifiers. They are also used in many other applications, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food products.

Mono and diglycerides are produced through the reaction between glycerin and fatty acids. This reaction is catalyzed by enzymes called glycerol esterases. The resulting product contains monoglycerides and diglycerides, which can be separated by distillation.

Mono and Diglycerides are commonly used in food products as emulsifiers, which help to prevent separation of ingredients such as oil from water or water from oil during manufacturing or storage of foods. Without these added ingredients, food products would not have the same texture or appearance after cooking or processing.

Mono and diglycerides can also be used in non-food products to help stabilize them during manufacturing or storage. For example, mono and diacylglycerols can be added to creams and lotions to reduce their tendency to separate into layers when left standing for long periods of time prior to use on the skin or hair.

Are mono and diglycerides bad? 

Mono and diglycerides are a type of food additive that is found in many processed foods. It is used to help extend the shelf life of products by forming a protective layer over the product.

Mono and diglycerides are also used as emulsifiers, which means that they can help keep ingredients from separating. They are often added to cream-based sauces, ice creams, and other products that contain oil and water.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers mono-and diglycerides safe for use in food products under current conditions of use. This means that they can be used in any amount, without restriction or limitation by law.

Where to buy mono and diglycerides? 

Mono-diglycerides and diglycerides are commonly used in baked goods to keep the product moist and prevent oil separation. These compounds are also used as an emulsifier in ice cream, whipped toppings, margarine, salad dressings, mayonnaise and other products. While most stores stock these ingredients, it’s important to purchase them from a reputable source so that you know what you’re getting.

If you want to buy mono-diglycerides or diglycerides in bulk quantities for home cooking purposes, then check out the selection available at Amazon.com. You’ll find all of your favorite brands at great prices here — including Cargill Dow Microbial Food Ingredients & Supplements, Kerry Incorporated and Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas Incorporated.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is mono and diglycerides natural?

Mono and diglycerides are not natural. They are derived from a chemical reaction between glycerol and fatty acids. They have a shelf life of up to 24 months, but do not require refrigeration.

Is mono and diglycerides halal?

 Mono and diglycerides are halal, as they are a type of fat that is derived from vegetable oil.

Is mono and diglycerides kosher?

Mono and diglycerides are kosher, but they may not be considered vegetarian.

Kosher is an adjective describing a product that conforms to the dietary laws of Judaism. Mono- and diglycerides are derived from animal fat, and some people consider them non-vegetarian. However, most rabbis allow them as kosher because they are not derived from meat or dairy products.

Is mono and diglycerides vegan?

Mono and diglycerides are not vegan. In fact, they’re often used in foods that are not vegan.

Mono and diglycerides are made from the combination of glycerin (a byproduct of the oil refining process) and fatty acids, which makes them non-vegan.

Is mono and diglycerides gluten free?

Mono and diglycerides are emulsifiers that are commonly used in a wide range of foods and beverages. They can be made from vegetable oils or animal fats and they are used as stabilizers in a variety of processed foods, including baked goods.

While they are often used to make gluten-free products, not all mono-diglycerides are gluten free. In fact, some brands of mono-diglycerides contain wheat protein that may trigger a reaction in people who have celiac disease or other forms of gluten sensitivity or intolerance.

Final words:

Mono and Diglycerides are considered since the last century and they are widely used in many products. These are used primarily as emulsifiers, enhancers of fluorescence and thickening agents. Although this emulsifier is rapidly absorbed by the body, it has a low toxicity level.

This will be reflected by the fact that they can be found in foods intended for children, pregnant women and adults. Nevertheless, there are some people who are highly sensitive to food additives must avoid excess consumption of these substances. Before consuming this emulsifier, it is strongly recommended to consult with a doctor especially for those who have allergies or other chronic illness.

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng is the author of gradechemical.com, she is the co-founder of the grade chemical network. She has been in grade chemical company since 2017, with a working knowledge of food chemical .

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