Cluster Dextrin (Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin) is a new type of dextrin that is produced from amylopectin via cyclization reaction of a branching enzyme (BE,1,4-α-D-glucan: 1,4-α-D-glucan 6-α-D-(1,4-α-D-glucano)-transferase,EC
Ezaki Glico has successfully achieved industrial production of Cluster Dextrin by applying its unique technology in enzymology.
Glico obtained FDA Notified GRAS status for Cluster Dextrin in October 2012.

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PropertiesStructure and Manufacturing ProcessStructural CharacteristicsCharacteristicsApplicationSpecificationsContact Us


Cluster Dextrin has the following properties.

  1. Cluster Dextrin is highly soluble in water, and the solution is highly stable during storage. Cluster Dextrin contributes little to osmotic pressure, and has a relatively low propensity for retrogradation, sludging, and/or caking of a clear solution.
  2. Cluster Dextrin has relatively long side chains, and these chains are considered to adopt a helical conformation. Such helical structures can form inclusion complexes with guest molecules such as organic acids.
  3. Cluster Dextrin hardly absorbs moisture. Furthermore, Cluster Dextrin hardly causes any browning reaction. These properties make Cluster Dextrin excellent for use in a spray-drying aid.
  4. Cluster Dextrin is completely degraded to glucose with a homogenate of rat intestine (including digestive enzymes) at a rate comparable to that of a conventional dextrin.
  5. The sweetness of Cluster Dextrin is low compared with the sweetness of dextrins with a relatively high DE.
  6. Cluster Dextrin has low unfavorable taste derived from starch compared with other dextrins.

Cluster Dextrin has been on the market in Japan since 2002 as a food ingredients, and is used in sports nutrition, and to improve the taste or physical properties of food.
Uses of Cluster Dextrin include as a component of a sports drink and as a spray-drying aid.

Structure and Manufacturing Process

Cluster Dextrin is manufactured by applying an enzyme called a branching enzyme to cornstarch . The branching enzyme works on the joint of the cluster structure of amylopectin and degrades it by cyclization.
Thus, Cluster Dextrin is considered to maintain the cluster structure, which is the basic structural unit of amylopectin, nearly as it is.

< Schematic Representation of the Action of Branching Enzyme on Amylopectin >

Structural Characteristics

Molecular Weight Distribution
Cluster Dextrin has a narrower molecular weight distribution than other dextrins.
This can be considered to be due to the high specificity of the branching enzyme as shown in the “Chemical Structure and Manufacturing Process”.
Whilst Cluster Dextrin has a high molecular weight, it also has a narrow molecular weight distribution and these are both excellent properties.

< Molecular Weight Distributions of Various Dextrins >

Glucosyl long side chains
Cluster Dextrin contains relatively long chains of glucose units compared with other types of dextrins. Such long chains with more than 10 glucose units tend to take a helical structure in solution. It is known that the cavities in a helix easily make an inclusion complex with low-molecular weight compounds.

< Model of the helical structure of glucosyl chains >


Highly soluble in water and highly stable
Although Cluster Dextrin is a dextrin with a high molecular weight, it has high solubility. A solution of Cluster Dextrin has the following characteristics compared to other dextrins of similar Dextrose Equivalent.

  • Rarely becomes clouded even with repeated cryolysis.
  • Low osmotic pressure of the solution.

< Stability of Various Dextrin Solutions >

Low sweetness and low unfavorable taste
The levels of sweetness and unfavorable taste of Cluster Dextrin are extremely low, because of its high purity and the fact that it contains few low-molecular weight substances.

Low absorption of moisture
Cluster Dextrin can be dried easily, but it is hard to color it. Cluster Dextrin, an excellent spray-drying aid, can be used for powdering various substances. It has many applications for powdering extracts of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other substances that easily absorb humidity.

< Moisture content of Cluster Dextrin after storage at various relative humidities at 25°C >


Component for Sports Drink
Shorter residence time in the stomach allows design of a sports drink that is quickly absorbed in the body.
Usually, in the case of beverages with electrolytes only, 280 mOsm (same osmotic pressure as bodily fluid) is absorbed quickest. However, our research revealed that gastric emptying when the beverages contain carbohydrates, with a low osmotic pressure beverage of approximately 150 mOsm, is the shortest in proportion to the osmotic pressure of the beverage and gastric emptying (transfer time from stomach to intestine)*1).
That is, if low molecular weight carbohydrates such as glucose are used, osmotic pressure becomes higher even if the concentration is the same (620 mOsm in 10% solution), and only leads to preparation of slow gastric emptying beverages.
On the other hand, if approximately 2500-fold higher average molecular weight Cluster Dextrin compared to glucose is used, osmotic pressure is hardly affected and hypotonic sports drinks can be readily designed, even though electrolytes, vitamins, and amino acids, which are essential for sports drinks, are combined ( in the Figure).

*1) H. Takii et al., Fluids containing a highly branched cyclic dextrin influence the gastric emptying rate. Int J. Sports Med. 26: 314-319(2005)

< GET(Gastric Emptying Time) of Various Carbohydrates >
(Intake 300mL 10% carbohydrate solution)

We confirmed that the endurance increasing effect can be obtained by consuming a beverage containing Cluster Dextrin !
Beverages combining Cluster Dextrin are characterized to contain highly concentrated carbohydrate and fast gastric empting. Therefore, the carbohydrate energy, moisture, and electrolytes consumed during exercise can be re-supplied promptly. We confirmed that administration of Cluster Dextrin to mice significantly increased the swimming time (=endurance) in endurance swimming compared to administration of water and glucose solution*2).
Moreover, we investigated the critical swimming time of top swimmers swimming in a flowing water pool after taking each beverage shown in Figure. As a result, it was revealed that swimming time is significantly extended when Cluster Dextrin containing beverage is consumed compared to the cases with other beverages.

*2) H. Takii et al., Enhancement of Swimming Endurance in Mice by Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin. Biosci., Biotechnol., Biochem. 63: 2045-2052(1999)

< Effect on Swimming Endurance in Human >

Spray Drying Aid
Cluster Dextrin is especially suitable as a spray drying aid for oil.
By using Cluster Dextrin, an item can be given a high oil content. The powdered oil can easily be dispersed in water, and it is hard to absorb humidity, and hard to be blocked.
Furthermore, powdered oil based on Cluster Dextrin has a higher oxidative stability than other dextrin-based powders.
We recommend Cluster Dextrin for powdering oxidation-labile oils such as DHA and EPA.

< POV of Powdered Fish Oil (Oil Content 69%) >

Powdered Citrus Peel
Cluster Dextrin is also suitable as a spray drying aid for water-soluble substances such as extracts of fruits and vegetables. The figure shows that Cluster Dextrin-based citrus-peel powder is much more stable than dextrin-based powder under humid conditions.

< Powdered Citrus Peel >

Taste Improvement
Cluster Dextrin can improve the sour or bitter taste of vinegar- or vegetable-based beverages. The low pH of such beverages gives them a strong sour taste, which is too sharp or unpleasant for many people. By adding Cluster Dextrin, this sour taste can be ameliorated without changing the pH. Bitter tastes of green tea or other food can also be effectively improved.

< Reducing Effect of Acidity >



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for enquiries, contact Global Sales Department, Technical Sales Division, Glico Nutrition Co., Ltd.
4-6-5, Utajima, Nishiyodogawa-ku, Osaka 555-8502 Japan
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