Food Chemistry: What is a Glycol?

[caption id="attachment_5892" align="alignright" width="440"] Propylene Glycol[/caption] In our food, we expect to find ingredients of the earth, sea, and air—ingredients that occur naturally without any finagling from humans. Grains, vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, fowl, and cheese are all welcome. But go to your neighborhood grocery and pick up any package of prepared food product, and you are likely to be assaulted with a huge array of substances that sound nothing like these ingredients. That array will include thickeners, anti-caking agents, preservatives, fungus preventatives, and so forth. Yet another ingredient may be some form or other of glycol. What is that? Simply put, a glycol is a double alcohol—two adjacent carbon atoms each has a pendant hydroxyl group. The structure is seen to the right, below: [caption id="attachment_20003" align="alignright" width="304"] glycol…
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