Native starches types and their application

2 October 2018

The starch is the most popular food additive. One can hardly imagine some food production industries being able to work without this ingredient. The end consumer is familiar with the starch mostly as viscosity increasing agent but professionals are aware of other properties and peculiarities of the starches.

Native starches

Not just familiar products

The fist association appearing in mind for the word “starch” is mostly common for everybody – certainly «potato starch”! Someone can recall corn or rice starch. But professionals know much more exotic starch types. Let’s specify some of them:

  • wheat
  • corn
  • potato
  • pea
  • tapioca

They have different characteristics: viscosity of the starch gel, gel transparency degree. Being very well aware of those characteristics a technologist can accurately select the ingredient for any particular purpose.

What’s the difference between native starches of various origin?

Native starches of various origin differ in two main criterions:

  • Amilose and amylopectine ratio of the raw material
  • Starch grain size

Those particular criterions determine all main technological and physical properties of the products produced of the starch. The more amilose the starch (pea, regular corn) contains, the firmer and denser will be the gel. The more amylopectine it has (tapioca, waxy corn), the more transparent and creamy will be the texture.

Starch grain size determines the speed and the temperature of starch jelling and starch heat resistance. I.e. potato starch has the biggest grain size, easily exposed but not resisting heating – big but fragile grains start breaking down quickly.

Native starches

Other factors

Needless to say that any starch application requires taking into account its ability to interact with other ingredients. Comfort conditions are required for any starch to reveal its properties. That is the reason why the starch should be inserted into the systems containing high sugar before the sugar in order to avoid their struggle for moisture. Low acidity systems should be treated another way – acid components are to be added before the starch to avoid the risk of starch’s destruction.

There is also the group of numerous modified starches having a range of characteristics not appropriate to the original starches but combining advantages of various sources.