Glucose – overview

Foodcom Experts
8 min reading
Glucose – overview
Table of contents
  • Glucose is an industrial sugar obtained by hydrolysis of starch from plants such as corn, barley, rice, potatoes or wheat.


  • It is characterized by good water solubility, high viscosity and hygroscopicity.


  • There are various forms of Glucose, such as Glucose Syrup, Dextrose Monohydrate and Anhydrous Glucose.


  • It is widely used in food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and feed industries.



In the following article, we will introduce the main properties of Glucose and its various applications in the industry. Glucose is one of the most important compounds and an essential component of many industrial products and processes. Read our overview of Glucose to learn more about this unique substance!

How is Glucose formed?

Glucose, also known as dextrose, is a simple sugar, a type of carbohydrate chemically known as a monosaccharide. In nature, Glucose is found in honey and some fruits, especially grapes, which is why it is sometimes called grape sugar. Commercial Glucose is produced by enzymatic or acid hydrolysis of starch from plants such as corn, barley, rice, potatoes or wheat. The starch is dissolved in water and then hydrolyzed to a syrup. It can later be dried to obtain a crystalline or granular powder. The hydrolysis manufacturing process removes all gluten from the raw material, making the final product gluten-free. In the Americas, Glucose is made primarily from corn, while in Europe, wheat and potatoes are more commonly used. In the African region, a popular ingredient for making Glucose is cassava flour.

Properties of Glucose

Glucose is a white, crystalline powder with a sweet taste. It is highly soluble in water and therefore easily absorbed by the body. It has a high viscosity and is hygroscopic.

Glucose is the main source of energy for living organisms. After ingestion, it is digested and absorbed by the body and then converted into the energy the body needs to function properly. In addition, Glucose can undergo various chemical reactions, such as fermentation, oxidation and reduction. This reactivity makes it useful in many industrial processes.

Forms of Glucose

Glucose Syrup

Glucose Syrup is a refined and highly concentrated form of industrial Glucose. The product is a clear solution and is characterized by high transparency and viscosity. Glucose syrup has no distinct flavor and is less sweet than Fructose or Sucrose. Syrup is the most popular form used in the food and beverage sector.

Dextrose Monohydrate

Dextrose Monohydrate, also known as d-Glucose, is a type of Glucose that contains only isomers of the d-form. In commerce, dextrose and Glucose are used interchangeably because their chemical structures are nearly identical. Dextrose Monohydrate is a pure, crystallized powder with a white color. It has high solubility in water, medium to low solubility in ethanol, and is sparingly soluble in other solvents.

Anhydrous Glucose

Anhydrous Glucose is a purified, highly hygroscopic form of Glucose powder with a very low water content, making it a very stable ingredient. The product is obtained by crystallizing Glucose at temperatures above 55°C. Anhydrous Glucose is sweeter than Dextrose Monohydrate. It easily absorbs moisture and improves the looseness of the product. It is widely used in pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

Uses of Glucose

All forms of industrial Glucose have similar applications in the food and feed industries. In food production, Glucose is used to achieve the desired physical properties of the final product, i.e., it is mainly used as a functional additive. It improves viscosity, increases sweetness and serves as a flavor enhancer. It has a weaker sweetening power than other sugars such as Saccharose, but has a higher water solubility index. This product also serves as a preservative in jars and preserves.

In the feed industry, it is used as a nutritional supplement and energy source in various feed mixtures. It also improves the taste and palatability of the final product.

In sports nutrition, Glucose is a popular ingredient in drinks and tablets to replenish energy after exercise. In addition, Glucose is used in the pharmaceutical sector as an ingredient in ointments and IV liquids to help patients restore Glucose levels, nutrients and electrolytes, and provide calories.

In the cosmetics industry, Glucose acts as a humectant, meaning it protects the epidermis from water loss and improves the elasticity of the stratum corneum. In hair care products, it moisturizes the hair and prevents split ends. Because of its sweet taste, it is added to lip products. It also prevents the product from crystallizing at the mouth of the bottle.

Glucose is also used in the chemical industry. It is used in the production of various organic acids, for example Acetic Acid, fumaric acid or Lactic Acid. Glucose also plays an important role in the production of biofuels. It is the main substrate in their production, more precisely in fermentation processes.

Food-grade Glucose

Glucose is widely used in the food industry. Because it imparts a sweet taste and viscosity to products, in the confectionery sector it is an ingredient in candies, ice cream, desserts, creams, jellies, jams, and a number of beverages and flavored drinks.

It is also used in baking, as it plays a role in the Maillard reaction in the preparation of rolls, bread, cookies and cakes. Glucose gives baked goods a brown color through the crystallization process and extends their shelf life. Glucose can improve the texture of baked goods by making them soft and moist. It acts as a humectant that binds moisture, which helps maintain the freshness and shelf life of baked goods.

When processing fruits and vegetables, the powdered form of Glucose prolongs the freshness and shelf life of the products.

In the brewing industry, Glucose is used as an ingredient in the fermentation process, where it is converted into alcohol by yeast.

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