Inulin Powder: 4 Aspects To Know It Briefly

inulin powder source Chicory

Prebiotics are foods that increase the value of beneficial bacteria. It includes inulin powder, fructooligosaccharides, galactooligosaccharides, stachyose, xylooligosaccharides, isomaltooligosaccharides, lactitol, etc. However, the ones with the most scientific and clinical experimental data and the most sufficient evidence are inulin, fructooligosaccharides, and galactooligosaccharides. These three are all-natural prebiotics unanimously recognized by the scientific community. Today, Nutri Avenue focuses on inulin and briefly introduces this ingredient from 4 aspects.

What Is Inulin Powder?

Inulin is a reserve polysaccharide in plants. It mainly comes from plants, and more than 36,000 species have been discovered. Its molecule is polymerized from 31 β-D-fructofuranose and 1 to 2 inulin residues. A linear polysaccharide composed of D-fructose linked by β (1→2) glycosidic bonds. It often has a glucose residue at the end and has a degree of polymerization (DP) of 2 to 60. Inulin with an average degree of polymerization DP>9 is called long-chain inulin. Natural plants contain both long-chain and short-chain inulin.

Dried inulin powder is in the form of a white amorphous powder. Generally, the solubility of inulin will increase significantly with the increase in temperature. The solubility of ordinary inulin in 10℃ water is about 6%. It is 33% at 90℃. Due to the relatively low solubility of long-chain inulin, it forms inconspicuous microcrystals in water. These crystals interact with each other. A smooth, creamy structure then forms. The taste is similar to fat. When the concentration of the inulin solution reaches 10%-30%, a gel will gradually form. A very solid gel can form when its concentration reaches 40%-50%.

Long Chain Inulin VS Short Chain Inulin

Natural inulin powder is the naturally occurring form of chicory root after removing impurities. Its degree of polymerization is complete, ranging from 2 to 60. Short-chain instant inulin is natural inulin with part of the long chain removed, and its degree of polymerization ranges from 2 to 25. Long-chain inulin is also called polyfructose. Its average degree of polymerization is greater than or equal to 23.

The distribution and efficacy of inulin with different chain lengths in the intestinal tract differ greatly.

The main long-chain fermentation product is butyrate. Short-chain FOS produces acetate and lactate.

Long chains have a smooth taste and are often used to reduce product fat content. FOS tastes a little sweet, so it is used to help reduce sugar and sugar substitutes in foods and drinks.

Short chains are more soluble in water than long chains. Its solubility will increase significantly as the temperature increases. Short chains contain more monosaccharides and disaccharides, and their sweetness is approximately equivalent to 30% to 50% of sucrose. Ordinary inulin is slightly sweet, about 10% as sweet as sucrose. And the long chain has no sweetness.

Inulin Powder Sources: Chicory Or Jerusalem Artichoke

It is a natural storage carbohydrate in more than 36,000 plant species, including agave, wheat, onions, bananas, garlic, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, and more. Inulin is used as an energy reserve for these plants to regulate cold resistance. Because it is soluble in water, it is osmotically active. Some plants can change the osmotic potential of their cells by changing the degree of polymerization of inulin molecules through hydrolysis. Plants can withstand cold and drought during the winter by changing the osmotic potential without changing the total amount of carbohydrates.

Because the main raw material for extracting inulin is chicory or Jerusalem Artichoke from the Asteraceae family, it is named inulin. Chicory root is the main extraction source for the commercial production of inulin powder.

The extraction process is similar to extracting sugar from beets. First, wash the chicory root slices. Then, soak in solvent (hot water or ethanol). The inulin is then isolated, purified, and spray-dried. In addition, inulin can also be synthesized from sucrose.

Is Inulin Legal?

Inulin has obtained the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) no-objection status from the US FDA, among which long-chain inulin is GRAS. In the early 21st century, its use in processed foods was partly due to its manufacturing adaptability. Inulin is approved by the FDA as an ingredient to enhance the dietary fiber value of processed foods.

4 Major Application Fields Of Inulin

Inulin tastes range from mild to slightly sweet, about 10% as sweet as sugar/sucrose. It can be used in place of sugar, fat, and flour. It is advantageous because it contains 25-35% of food energy from carbohydrates (starches, sugars). Furthermore, inulin is very stable to heat. Adding this ingredient to baked goods improves the texture and elasticity of the dough, resulting in better flavor and mouthfeel.

This ingredient is very hygroscopic. In other words, it binds strongly to free water. Therefore, it can reduce water activity. This characteristic can be used in food processing to delay the evaporation of water and prevent the product from changing flavor. Thereby extending the shelf life and shelf life of food.

It also provides nutritional benefits by increasing calcium absorption and possibly magnesium absorption. At the same time, it promotes the growth of intestinal bacteria. Chicory inulin has been reported to increase calcium absorption in young women and men with low calcium absorption.

Nutritionally, it is considered a form of soluble fiber. Sometimes classified as prebiotics. Thereby achieving the effect of enriching nutrition and improving health. In addition to regulating intestinal microflora and improving intestinal health, it also controls blood lipids and lowers blood sugar.


As a natural water-soluble dietary fiber, inulin powder has been approved as a nutritional dietary supplement by more than 20 countries worldwide. It is a purely natural functional ingredient. Gut health is its most well-known benefit. This ingredient is highly recognized in the North American market. Therefore, the demand is also high.

Nutri Avenue provides bulk inulin powder for application in food additives, prebiotics, nutritional supplements, and other fields.

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