Glycerol monostearate, commonly known as GMS, is a monoglyceride commonly used as an emulsifier in foods. It takes the form of a white, odorless, and sweet-tasting flaky powder that is hygroscopic. Chemically it is the glycerol ester of stearic acid. It is also used as hydration powder in exercise formulas
Glycerol monostearate exists as three stereoisomers, the enantiomeric pair of 1-glycerol monostearate and 2-glycerol monostearate. Typically these are encountered as a mixture as many of their properties are similar.
Commercial material used in foods is produced industrially by a glycerolysis reaction between triglycerides (from either vegetable or animal fats) and glycerol.
Glycerol monostearate occurs naturally in the body as a product of the breakdown of fats by pancreatic lipase. It is present at very low levels in certain seed oils.
Following are some foods with glycerol monostearate and its various purposes:
- Breads: improve the softness and retard starch retrogradation and therefore extend the shelf life.
- Cakes: used as a foam-promoting emulsifier in cake to stabilize air bubbles in the batter and reduce the fat content in cake. GMS acts as a fat replacer to hold water.
- Biscuit: prevent the oil separate out.
- Pasta: anti-stickiness.
- Ice cream: prevent forming large ice crystals, stabilize the structure, improve mouth feels and provide a creamy texture.
- Caramels, toffees and chocolate: reduce stickiness and prevent sugar crystallization.
- Chewing gum: improve gum base softness.
- Bodybuilding Supplement: prevent dehydration and helps muscle cells to absorb nutritional ingredients (e.g. creatine monohydrate) during bodybuilding. Therefore, it enhances muscle pumps, volume and endurance.
GMS can act as an emollient and emulsifying agent in cosmetics and personal care products.
Due to the properties of both hydrophilic and lipophilic, GMS can be used in the production of plastics by mixing into the polymer.
Following are its functions in plastics:
- Foaming agent: facilitate air bubbles in PEP.
- Lubricant: make plastics surface shiny.
- Antistatic agent: eliminate static during the production and usage of plastic.
- Anti-fogging agent: keep the water in a thin film and prevent the forming of a water pool in food packaging.