Glucose syrup is a refined and concentrated solution of dextrose, maltose and higher saccharides, obtained by hydrolysis of starch. It is more distinct than sugar, partly because it is a syrup, which means that the solution is a thick, sweetish liquid.
As a result, glucose syrup is used for its lack of a distinct taste, its transparency and its viscosity. Both the sweetness and the viscosity, though, are dependent on how long the solution is hydrolysed.
This manufacturing process was invented in Russia in 1811 by German scientist, Gottlieb Kirchhoff, who discovered the process by heating starch, water and sulphuric acid together. Glucose syrup has been used in products ever since, but up until the late 1980s the variants remained limited in the many different commercial applications.