FAO Nutrition Meetings
    Report Series No. 40A,B,C
    WHO/Food Add./67.29


    The content of this document is the result of the deliberations of the
    Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives which met at Rome,
    13-20 December, 19651 Geneva, 11-18 October, 19662


    1 Ninth Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food
    Additives, FAO Nutrition Meetings Report Series, 1966 No. 40; 
    Wld Hlth Org. techn. Rep. Ser., 1966, 339

    2 Tenth Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food
    Additives, FAO Nutrition Meetings Report Series, 1967, in press; 

    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    World Health Organization


    Synonyms                Diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and
                            diglycerides; Tartaric acid esters,
                            diacetylated, of mono- and diglycerides

    Chemical description    This product consists of mixed glycerol esters
                            of fatty acids and diacetyl tartaric acid.

    Structural formula      Major components are:

                            I.   CH2-OR



                            II.  CH2-OR

                            III. CH2-OR

                            where R represents various saturated and
                            unsaturated fatty acid moiety or hydrogen in
                            II or III.

    Definition              The product consists of esters made by the
                            interaction of diacetyl tartaric anhydride
                            with monoglycerides, or with mono-diglyceride
                            mixture made from edible oils, fats or fatty
                            acids therefrom. The material appearing in
                            commerce often consists of mixtures of the
                            product described above with mono-and

    Description             The esters range in appearance from sticky,
                            viscous liquids through a fat-like consistency
                            to yellow waxes which hydrolyse in moist air
                            to liberate acetic acid.

    Uses                    As emulsifier.

    Biological Data

    Biochemical aspects

         Six male rats ware fed 0.53-0.81 g/kg body-weight
    14C-acetyltartaric acid ester of none-and diglycerides (labelled in
    the two carboxyl groups of tartaric acid) as an oily solution. Within
    24 hours only 26-31 per cent. of the radioactivity was absorbed.
    Twelve to twenty per cent. of the radioactivity was eliminated as
    14CO2 and 8-13 per cent. was excreted in the urine; 2 per cent. was
    found in the carcass (Lang & Schmidt, 1965). The analysis of the depot
    fat of dogs fed up to 20 per cent. of the substance for 22 months
    showed no traces or either free or a fat soluble derivative of
    tartaric acid (Koppanyi & Dardin, 1950). The digestibility coefficient
    was over 90 per cent. of the substance or about the same as that of
    lard (Koppanyi & Dardin, 1950). In an aqueous medium diacetyl tartaric
    ester of mono- and diglycerides was hydrolysed spontaneously to mono-
    and diglycerides and acetylated tartaric acid, the hydrolysis being
    somewhat accelerated by pancreatic lipase (Lang & Schmidt, 1965).
    There was some evidence that diacetyltartaric acid was also hydrolysed
    in the body (Sourkes & Koppanyi, 1950).

    Acute toxicity

         No acute toxic effects at a practicable dose level have been
    demonstrated. Rats and rabbits tolerated intragastric doses of 30 g/kg
    body-weight and dogs 27 g/kg body-weight without any adverse effects.
    No diarrhoea was noted and autopsied animals showed no pathological
    changes. Histological examination of liver and kidneys of animals
    killed 10 days after the administration of the substance showed no
    abnormalities (Koppanyi & Dardin, 1950).

    Short-term studies

         Dog. Thirteen dogs each received daily i.v. injections of 0.5
    per cent. suspensions of the substance in isotonic glucose at a dose
    rate of 40-50 ml/kg body-weight for a total of up to 30 infusions. A
    fall in haemoglobin concentration occurred in 11 dogs and a pleural
    effusion in 6. Groups of 2 three-year old dogs were fed diets
    containing 0, 5, 10 and 20 per cent. of diacetyl tartaric esters of
    mono- and diglycerides for 25-1/2 months. No specific effects
    attributable to the test substance were seen (Hartwig et al., 1962).

    Long-term studies

         Rat. Groups of 8 rats were fed 0, 5, 10 and 20 per cent.
    diacetyltartaric esters of mono- and diglycerides, another 2 groups
    were fed 50 per cent. white bread (broad control group) and 50 per
    cent. bread which was baked with the addition or 10 per cent. of the
    emulsifier in terms of flour weight (bread test group) for two years.
    No difference was found between the groups regarding body-weight,
    external appearance, liver and kidney weights and mortality rate.
    Autopsies and histological examination of the major organs showed no

    changes attributable to the test substance. A second generation was
    maintained on similar regimes for 22 months. There was no difference
    between the groups regarding body-weight, mortality and results of
    gross and histological examination. All litters were normal (Koppanyi
    & Dardin, 1950).


         Diacetyltartaric acid is not a natural consistuent of the diet,
    and its rate of spontaneous hydrolysis possibly allows the absorption
    of some unhydrolyzed compound. The experimental results show that the
    ester has a very low toxicity when given orally and that the
    acetylated tartaric acid moiety is absorbed only to a small extent.
    Evaluation is based on the available toxicological information rather
    than the results of the biochemical and metabolic studies.


    Level causing no toxicological effect

         Rat. 100 000 ppm in the diet, equivalent to 5000 mg/kg

    Estimate of acceptable daily intakes for man

                                      mg/kg body-weight

        Unconditional acceptance1          0-25
        Conditional acceptance             25-50


    FAO/WHO (1965) FAO Nutrition Meetings Report Series No. 38; 
    Wld Hlth Org. techn. Rep. Ser., 309

    Hartwig, Q. L., Singleton, W. S. & Cotlar, A. M. (1962) Toxicol.
    Appl. Pharmacol., 4, 107

    Koppanyi, T. &, Dardin, V. (1950) Unpublished report to WHO

    Lang, K. & Schmidt, B. (1967) In press

    Sourkes, T, L. & Koppanyi, T. (1950) J. Amer. Pharm. Assoc., sci.
    Ed., 39, 275


    1 The total food additive intake of tartaric acid should not exceed
    6-20 mg/kg body-weight/day (FAO/WHO, 1965).

    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations