E 422 Stands for Glycerine
E number 422 refers to the sugar alcohol glycerol, also known as propane-1,2,3-triol under IUPAC. E 422 is a by-product of natural fats that plays a central role in various metabolic processes. After its crude production in a chemical process, glycerine is distilled and thus refined.
Glycerine was produced for the first time in 1779 by the German-Swedish chemist and pharmacist Carl Wilhelm Scheele during the saponification of olive oil. The substance received its name in 1832, derived from the Greek word glykys, which means “sweet”. In 1854, the British entrepreneur, chemist and plant breeder George Fergusson Wilson developed a method to synthesize glycerine industrially.
Physically, the food additive with the number E 422 is a colorless and odorless, sweet tasting, soluble, clear and viscous liquid with a high boiling point. Due to its chemical property of remaining stable under most conditions, its good compatibility with numerous other substances, and the ease of processing, E 422 is used in the most diverse areas.
E 422 in the Food Industry
Glycerine is also widely used in the food industry, for example to refine flavors, improve the consistency, or optimize preservation.
In addition, E 422 acts as a solvent for food colorings and flavorings in a number of soft drinks or confectionary. In cakes and other baked goods, glycerine serves as an emollient and humectant, and it is also contained in the rind of some types of cheese.
A further, very well-known area of application is chewing gum – in this product, the food additive serves as a humectant. And E 422 is also used as a sweetener.