What is Sorbitan Tristearate (E492) in Chocolates? Uses, Safe, Side Effects

What is Sorbitan Tristearate (E492) in Chocolates? Uses, Safe, Side Effects


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Sorbitan tristearate (abbreviation STS), also called Span 65. Sorbitan tristearate is known to be used in some chocolates as a substitute to trans-fatty acids. It is also a polysorbate which is commonly found in cosmetic preparations and food items as an emulsifier. Trans fat is made by hydrogenation of vegetable oil in the presence of a catalyst. Hydrogenation changes the arrangement of hydrogen atoms in vegetable oils which causes the formation of trans fats and diglycerides. Polysorbate 60 (a) E613 and (b) E472 are usually taken from coconut oil while sorbitan monostearate is produced using a chemical reaction on sorbitan fatty acid ester with heat.

What is sorbitan tristearate?

Sorbitan tristearate is an emulsifier and surfactant and it is used in cosmetics as a thickening agent, emulsifier and stabilizer. It is also used as a food additive to thicken, stabilize and emulsify foods.

Sorbitan tristearate is a mixture of sorbitol esters of stearic acid with three molecules of fatty acid attached to each molecule of sorbitol. It has the appearance of white waxy solid at room temperature and melts above 30°C to a clear liquid that does not cloud at 25°C.( 1)

Polyoxyethylene sorbitan tristearate

Polyoxyethylene sorbitan tristearate, also known as POE-20 sorbitan tristearate and Tween 20, is a nonionic surfactant used in cosmetics and personal care products to emulsify and stabilize products.

Polyoxyethylene sorbitan tristearate is a white to cream-colored solid or viscous liquid. It is miscible with water and has low order with other solvents. It has an HLB value of 9.0–10.0 which means that it is highly soluble in water and can be used as a surfactant for cleaning agents or shampoos.

Polyoxyethylene 20 sorbitan tristearate

Polyoxyethylene 20 sorbitan tristearate is a non-ionic surfactant and emulsifier. It is used in cosmetics, food, and pharmaceuticals to improve the consistency and stability of formulations.

The chemical formula is CH3(CH2CH2O)10CH2COOCH2CH2(CH2)6COOCH3.

Polyoxyethylene 20 sorbitan tristearate is used as an emulsifier in creams and lotions to stabilize the product and prevent the separation of oil and water. It also helps to improve the feel of these products on the skin or lips. Polyoxyethylene 20 sorbitan tristearate is also used in toothpaste, mouthwashes, and other oral care products as an emulsifier that helps suspend ingredients evenly throughout liquid solutions.

Polyethylene glycol sorbitan tristearate

Polyethylene glycol sorbitan tristearate (or PEG-ST, also known as Tween 60), is a synthetic, nonionic surfactant used for its emulsifying properties in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. It is composed of polyoxyethylene polyoxypropylene block copolymers, with the polyoxypropylene blocks alternating with the polyoxyethylene blocks.

What is sorbitan tristearate made from?

Sorbitan tristearate is a nonionic surfactant made from sorbitol, stearic acid, and oleic acid. It is used as an emulsifying agent in cosmetics and beauty products, as well as in food manufacturing.

It is also used in the production of polyurethane foams to improve their stability and reduce water absorption.

How is sorbitan tristearate made?

Similar to sorbitan monostearate, this ingredient is also derived from direct esterification of sorbitol with stearic acid, but it differs from the former because it features three stearic acid molecules attached to the sorbitan molecule.

There is no pure compound in the final product, but a mixture of partial esters of sorbitol and its anhydrides with edible stearic acid.

Stearic acid

First, stearic acid is produced from stearin, which comes from vegetable fat or animal tallow (fat). This reaction occurs when the stearin has been melted and then cooled down again.


Next, sorbitan must be added to the mix. This substance comes from sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol found in plants and fruits like apples and pears. A chemical reaction takes place between sorbitol and stearic acid to produce sorbitan tristearate powder.

Spray drying

Finally, the resulting powder needs to undergo spray drying in order for it to become usable in products such as lotions and creams.


Other names Sorbitan esters of fatty acids, Sorbitan esters, Sorbitan trioctadecanoate and Anhydrosorbitan tristearate
CAS number 26658-19-5
Chemical formula C60H114O8
Molecular weight 963.54
Appearance A light cream to tan beads or flakes or hard, waxy solid with a slight odour
HLB 2.1 ()
Solubility Not soluble in water; insoluble in methanol and ethanol; dispersible in mineral oil and vegetable oils



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What is sorbitan tristearate used for?

A combination of sorbitan tristearate and polysorbates can enhance the stabilization of oil in water (O/W) emulsions. Sorbitan tristearate is used as a water-in oil emulsifier. A variation in the Span/Polysorbate ratio can result in emulsifying systems with different HLB values.

Sorbitan tristearate is an emulsifier and surfactant used in the food industry. It is also used in cosmetics, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals. Sorbitan tristearate uses include:

Sorbitan tristearate in food

Sorbitan tristearate has very good water-holding properties and is used in powdered beverages to improve the mouthfeel of the product. It can also be used to make chocolate smoother and creamier. It’s also used in frozen desserts, chewing gum and bakery products.

It may be found in the following food list:

  • Bakery products
  • Toppings and coatings
  • Fat emulsions (e.g. spreads)
  • Beverage whiteners
  • Desserts
  • Jam, jellies and marmalades
  • Cocoa and chocolate products
  • Candies

Sorbitan tristearate in chocolate

Chocolate formulations often use sorbitan tristearate and lecithin as emulsifiers to retard fat bloom in chocolate. ( 2)

Chocolate contains sorbitan tristearate, which adjusts sugar crystallization and appearance as well as reduces stickiness.

By preventing β’ crystals from converting to β crystals under excessive temperatures, sorbitan tristearate retards fat bloom by creating an emulsifier to prevent β crystals from migrating to the chocolate surface and causing fat bloom.

Additionally, it results in a negative impact on the appearance of the chocolate.

In the making of chocolate, cocoa powder, an important ingredient, forms unstable crystals that are called β’ crystals.

Sorbitan tristearate in cooking oils

Sorbitan tristearate is used in cooking oils and margarines because it helps reduce the amount of saturated fat in the product. In addition, it extends shelf life by preventing rancidity and extending oil stability. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved sorbitan tristearate for use as a food additive in various products including baked goods, chocolate coatings, chewing gum, ice cream, salad dressings, sauces, toppings and fillings.

Sorbitan tristearate in cosmetics

Sorbitan tristearate has many other uses in personal care products like creams, lotions and shampoos. In these products, it helps to make the products feel thicker or creamier on the skin. This makes them more pleasant for consumers to use and spread over their bodies.

There is a possibility that it may be present in the following products:

  • Skin care products
  • Makeup products
  • Moisturizers

Sorbitan tristearate in pharmaceuticals

Sorbitan tristearate is also used in pharmaceuticals because of its ability to thicken liquids or creams into pills or capsules that can be swallowed easily by patients who cannot swallow pills whole.

Is sorbitan tristearate safe to eat?

There are almost no side effects associated with the use of sorbitan tristearate as a food additive. The FDA has approved it as an indirect food additive. EFSA approved its safety for use as a food additive and established a daily intake limit (10 mg/kg BW) for sorbitan esters (E491–495) singly or in combination in 2017. As a direct food additive, it was also designated by JECFA with an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of “0-25 mg/kg body weight” in 1973.

What are the benefits of sorbitan tristearate?

Sorbitan tristearate is a food additive that can be used to add texture, reduce fat content and prolong shelf life. This additive is also known as Spans and is often used in bakery products such as cookies, crackers, and bread.

It is considered safe to use by the FDA and has been approved for use in the United States since 1954.

The main benefits of sorbitan tristearate include:

1) Helps reduce fat content in food products. Food manufacturers often use this additive because it helps cut down on fat without sacrificing flavor or texture. This makes it an ideal ingredient for baked goods that are trying to stay healthy but still taste great!

2) Prevents moisture loss from food products. Sorbitan tristearate works well at keeping foods moist by preventing moisture loss through evaporation during cooking processes such as baking or frying. This helps keep your food fresh longer so you don’t need to worry about wasting any extra ingredients or throwing away spoiled food!

What are the side effects of sorbitan tristearate?

Sorbitan tristearate is an emulsifier that is used to stabilize food products. It is also a surfactant and has the ability to lower surface tension.  ( 3)This makes it useful in many applications including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, household cleaning products, and personal care products. In addition, sorbitan tristearate acts as an emulsifier in foods such as ice cream, cake mixes, and salad dressings.

Sorbitan tristearate is usually made from palm oil or soybean oil but can also be made from corn or cottonseed oils. It is one of a class of compounds known as fatty acid esters with more than one ester group attached to each molecule of acid. These compounds are known as polyol esters or polysorbates depending on how many ester groups are attached to each molecule of alcohol (sugar) molecule in the compound

The most common side effects associated with sorbitan tristearate are gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or vomiting after eating foods containing this ingredient

Sorbitan tristearate side effects include:

  • Skin rashes (dermatitis) or hives (urticaria)
  • Difficulty breathing (bronchospasm)
  • Anaphylaxis (severe allergic

Sorbitan tristearate diarrhea

There are cases of sorbitan tristearate-induced diarrhea reported in the literature. The mechanism of action is not clear, but it may be related to the osmotic effects of the compound.

Where to buy sorbitan tristearate?

It is a nonionic surfactant known as sorbitan tristearate. It is used in adhesives, cosmetics, food products, and pharmaceuticals. It is also used in the manufacturing of soaps and detergents.

Sorbitan tristearate can be found in many personal care products such as eye drops, hair conditioners, and lotions. It also finds use in toothpaste and mouthwashes as an emulsifier.

The product is commercially available in the marketplace. However, if you cannot find the product locally then you can order it online from manufacturers who sell it through e-commerce sites like Amazon or eBay.

Frequently asked questions

Is sorbitan tristearate natural?

No, sorbitan tristearate is a mixture of three different fatty acids, and it is made from natural sources. The main ingredient in sorbitan tristearate is stearic acid, which is a natural fatty acid found in beef and pork tallow. It can also be sourced from plant oils such as palm oil or coconut oil. Sorbitan tristearate is often used as an emulsifier (to keep ingredients mixed together) in food products like chocolate syrup and salad dressing.

Is sorbitan tristearate halal?

Yes, sorbitan tristearate is a type of emulsifying agent that is often used in cosmetics and personal care products. It helps the product to stay blended, and it extends the shelf life of the product.

Sorbitan tristearate is made from vegetable fats, so it is halal.

Is sorbitan tristearate vegan?

Yes, sorbitan tristearate is vegan. Sorbitan tristearate is derived from stearic acid, which is found in many plants, including soybeans and coconuts.

Is sorbitan tristearate kosher?

Yes, sorbitan tristearate is kosher. Sorbitan tristearate has been certified by Kosher Supervision of America as being acceptable for use in kosher foods.

Is sorbitan tristearate gluten free?

Yes, sorbitan tristearate is gluten free. Sorbitan tristearate is a fatty acid that is used as an emulsifier in food. It does not contain gluten and can therefore be consumed by those who are gluten-intolerant.


In this article, we discuss what Sorbitan Tristearate is and examine the safety of this compound for use in food products. We also closely examine the conditions under which sorbitan tristearate is considered safe for human consumption. It should be mentioned that further research may uncover new uses and determine whether side effects can occur at other dosages.

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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