Pullulan: Dangers, properties and applications

Mimei Biotechnology
Pullulan: Dangers, properties and applications
Animal experiments show that pullulan does not cause any biological toxicity or abnormal conditions and can be safely used in food and medicine. Together with starch, it is classified as an additive with no restrictions on use in Japan.

According to the provisions of "GB 28402-2012 National Food Safety Standard Food Additive Pullulan": Pullulan is a food processed by pure culture and fermentation of carbohydrates by Aureobasidium pullulans. additive.

Pullulan is a special microbial polysaccharide discovered by scientists in 1938. The polysaccharide is a linear polysaccharide formed by polymerizing maltotriose repeating units connected by α-1,4 glycosidic bonds through α-1,6 glycosidic bonds. It has a molecular weight of 20,000 to 2 million and a degree of polymerization of 100 to 5,000. (The general molecular weight of commercial products is about 200,000. It is composed of approximately 480 maltotrioses). This polysaccharide has two important properties: elasticity in structure and relatively high solubility. Pullulan polysaccharide has strong film-forming properties, gas barrier properties, plasticity and viscosity, and has excellent properties such as being easily soluble in water, non-toxic, harmless, colorless and odorless. It has been widely used in medicine, food, light industry, Chemical and petroleum fields. May 19, 2006. The National Ministry of Health issued Announcement No. 8. Pullulan is one of the four new food additive products. It can be used as a coating agent and thickener in candies, chocolate coatings, film tablets, compound seasonings, and fruit and vegetable juice beverages. Thickener. Pullulan has strong film-forming properties, gas barrier properties, plasticity and viscosity, is easily soluble in water, is non-toxic, harmless, colorless and odorless.


As early as 2006, the Ministry of Health of China issued an announcement identifying pullulan as one of the four new food additive products, which can be used in candies, chocolate coatings, film tablets, compound seasonings, and fruit and vegetable juice beverages. As coating agent and thickening agent.

Properties of pullulan

Non-toxic and safe

According to the results of pullulan's acute, subacute and chronic toxicity tests and variability test, even if the dosage of pullulan reaches the LD50 (semi-lethal dose) limit of 15g/kg, pullulan will not cause No biological toxicity or abnormal state occurs, so it is very safe to be used in the food and pharmaceutical industries.


Pullulan can be quickly dissolved in cold or warm water. The dissolution rate is more than twice as fast as carboxymethylcellulose, sodium alginate, polypropylene alcohol, polyvinyl alcohol, etc. The solution is neutral, non-ionized, and non-gelling. , does not crystallize. It is mutually soluble with water-soluble polymers such as carboxymethylcellulose, sodium alginate and starch, and is insoluble in organic solvents such as ethanol and chloroform.


The molecules of pullulan have a linear structure. Therefore, compared with other polysaccharides, the pullulan aqueous solution has lower viscosity and does not form colloids. It is a neutral solution with strong adhesion. It is not easily affected by pH value or various salts, especially table salt to maintain a stable viscosity. When elements such as boron and titanium are mixed, the viscosity will increase dramatically. In addition, if the pH value is below 3 and heated for a long time, it will partially decompose like other polysaccharides, resulting in a decrease in solution viscosity.


Pullulan is a Newtonian fluid with excellent lubricity despite low viscosity. Suitable for use in complex seasonings such as sauces.

Adhesion, solidification

Pullulan has very strong adhesive force and can be air-dried after spraying to stably adhere to food (especially dry food). It also has strong coagulation power and is best used as a binder when making tablets or granules.

Film coating

Pullulan has excellent coating properties and can be easily coated on food, metal, etc. surfaces. At the same time, a water-soluble, colorless, transparent, and strong film can be formed from the pullulan aqueous solution. It has characteristics such as gas barrier properties, aroma-maintaining properties, oil resistance, and electrical insulation properties. It can be used to add luster to the surface of food and keep it fresh.


According to the results of the in vivo enzyme digestion test or the growth test of white mice, pullulan is an indigestible polysaccharide similar to cellulose and agar. Pullulan does not decompose within a few hours under the action of digestive enzymes in the digestive organs of animals. By utilizing the low digestibility of pullulan, special low-calorie foods and beverages can be produced.

Improve physical properties and retain moisture

Adding a small amount of pullulan is effective in improving physical properties and retaining moisture. It can be used to improve food texture, improve quality, prevent aging and increase yield.

Formability, spinning properties

Simply add a certain amount of water to pullulan, perform heating, pressure molding and spinning to produce edible and water-soluble molded products or fibers.

Application of pullulan in food

Application in confectionery

In the processing of chewing gum and soft candy products, adding 1% to 4% pullulan can improve the taste of the product, extend the chewing time and aroma. In the processing of sugar-free chewing gum, adding 4% pullulan can increase the extensibility and strength, make it non-cracking, resistant to chewing, maintain flavor, have good taste, and have a long shelf life.

Application in ice cream

The ester formed by pullulan and higher fatty acids has a better emulsification effect than sucrose fatty acid esters and starch fatty acid esters. It can be used as an emulsifier to stabilize fat. It can be used in ice cream production to enhance its lubrication performance and good flavor. Good taste.

Application in fruit and vegetable juice beverages

In fruit and vegetable juice drinks, the use of pullulan can moderately increase the richness, smoothness, good dispersion, enhanced stability and rich taste.


Xu Qinhu, Xu Yonghu, Yan Xuebing, Xian Yan, Zhao Zhonglin, Research on pullulan and its application progress

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