What is Sorbitan monostearate (E491) in food? Uses, Safe, Side Effects

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Sorbitan monostearate (E491) is a clear liquid synthetic emulsifier with E number E491. It is used as an emulsifier, humectant and stabilizer in food. A naturally occurring form of it derived from palm oil could be labeled as “sorbitol ester of vegetable fatty acids” When combined with diacetyl tartaric acid ester, it forms a synergistic combination called dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate. Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone Grade Chemical also known as TBHQ or tert-Butylhydroquinone or T-4-Q is a synthetic antioxidant for human consumption and can be found in foods such as baked goods and salad dressings, as well as some cosmetics.

What is sorbitan monostearate?

Sorbitan monostearate is a combination of two types of fatty acids called sorbitol and stearic acid. Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol that’s produced naturally in fruits and vegetables or synthetically from starch. It can also be manufactured from sucrose (table sugar). Stearic acid refers to one of several fatty acids found in animal fats like lard, tallow and butterfat.

Sorbitan monostearate span 60

Sorbitan monostearate or SM (also known as SPAN 60) is a synthetic, non-ionic surfactant. It is used in the cosmetic industry as an emulsifier and emollient.

Sorbitan monostearate is also used as an antistatic agent in hair care products, as well as being an ingredient in many other personal care products like hand soap, body wash, baby wipes and much more.

Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate

Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate (INCI: PEG-20 Sorbitan Monostearate) is a nonionic surfactant, or wetting agent, used in cosmetics and personal care products. It is the ester of sorbitol and polyoxyethylene. Anbu Chem

Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate is a mixture of partial esters of sorbitol with long chain fatty acids containing 20 carbon atoms. The average molecular weight is about 2,000 to 3,000. It is not soluble in water but dissolves easily in oils and alcohols.

It is an ingredient commonly found in cosmetic products such as body lotions and creams.

Yeast without sorbitan monostearate

The ingredient that is missing is sorbitan monostearate, which is an emulsifier used to blend water and oil together. It’s a type of edible wax that provides texture and stability to food products.

Yeast without sorbitan monostearate can be made at home by blending flour and water together. The result is a thick dough that can be used as a substitute for commercial yeast when baking breads or other baked goods.

Most commercial yeast contains sorbitan monostearate as an emulsifier, but it’s easy to find brands that don’t include this ingredient, especially among organic products.

What is sorbitan monostearate made from?

Sorbitan monostearate is a food additive that is used to extend the shelf life of baked goods, confections and icings. It also helps to keep them moist and soft. In addition, it may be used in salad dressings, chewing gum, chocolate coatings and ice cream mixes.

Sorbitan monostearates are produced by reacting stearic acid with sorbitol or a mixture of sorbitol and glucose (disaccharide). The resulting product is then hydrogenated to produce a solid which can be used as an emulsifier or stabilizer.

How is sorbitan monostearate made?

Sorbitan monostearate (also known as SM or Span 60) is a common food additive used to reduce the amount of fat in food products. It is a combination of sorbitol and stearic acid. It is produced by reacting stearic acid with sorbitol in a process called transesterification.


Sorbitol is a common sugar alcohol found in many foods and beauty products. It is also used in pharmaceuticals, such as laxatives and cough syrups. It can be made from corn syrup, which comes from corn starch or cane sugar. The corn syrup is treated with hydrogen under high pressure, which turns it into sorbitol.

Stearic Acid

Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid found in many animal fats. It can be produced by treating vegetable oils with sulfuric acid to remove unsaturated fatty acids, then neutralizing the remaining stearic acid with sodium carbonate (soda ash) or sodium hydroxide (lye).

The salts of these two compounds — sodium sorbitol monostearate and sodium stearoyl lactylate — are used as emulsifiers in many processed foods including baked goods, dairy products and ice cream.



A faint characteristic smell is associated with this waxy white to yellow bead or flake.

Hydrophilic-Lipophilic Balance (HLB)

Since its HLB value is 4.7, it is lipophilic and soluble in oil instead of water. The emulsion will form a W/O type, and it’s a strong emulsifying dispersion that wets.


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What is sorbitan monostearate used for?

Sorbitan monostearate is a common food additive that is made of sorbitol and stearic acid esterified. It is used as an emulsifier, stabilizer, and thickener in foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Sorbitan monostearate in food

It has the following main uses and functions in food:

  • Dry yeast: Sorbitan monostearate is used as a drying agent to keep dry yeast from clumping together. It also extends shelf life by inhibiting microbial growth.
  • Ice cream: For ice cream production, sorbitan monostearate helps prevent ice crystals from forming during freezing, so the texture stays smooth even after thawing and refreezing. In addition, it improves mouthfeel and prevents syneresis (separation of water from fat), which makes for a better-tasting product overall.
  • Margarine: Sorbitan monostearate can be added to margarines to improve texture and mouthfeel when eaten straight from the refrigerator. This allows manufacturers to use less trans fat-free oils than they otherwise would have needed in order for the product to be spreadable at low temperatures without becoming too soft in warmer temperatures or melting quickly on hot toast or bagels.
  • Whipping cream: The stabilizer helps keep the fat from separating from the liquid portion of natural whipping cream.
  • Bread & Cake: This ingredient prevents bread and cakes from drying out and becoming tough. It also makes them easier to slice after baking.
  • Confections and chocolate: This substance helps prevent sugar crystals from forming on candies, chocolates, and other sweets by keeping sugar crystals suspended in liquid form until they are needed for crystallization during cooking or cooling (such as when making fudge).

At the same time, the compound can also be condensed with ethylene oxide to form polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate (polysorbate 60), which is a food emulsifier as well.

Sorbitan monostearate in yeast

In baking baking products such as bread, cake and pizza dough sorbitan monostearate acts as a plasticizer and improves texture by lowering the glass transition temperature of the dough. It improves the shelf life of baked goods by reducing staling (bread) or dryness (cake).