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An emulsifier (also known as an emulgent) is a substance which stabilizes an emulsion by increasing its kinetic stability. One class of emulsifiers is known as surface active substances, or surfactants.

Examples of food emulsifiers are egg yolk (where the main emulsifying agent is lecithin), honey, and mustard, where a variety of chemicals in the mucilage surrounding the seed hull act as emulsifiers; proteins and low-molecular weight emulsifiers are common as well.

Soy lecithin is another emulsifier and thickener. In some cases, particles can stabilize emulsions as well through a mechanism called Pickering stabilization. Both mayonnaise and Hollandaise sauce are oil-in-water emulsions that are stabilized with egg yolk lecithin or other types of food additives such as Sodium stearoyl lactylate.

Oil-in-water emulsions are common in food. Notable examples include: Vinaigrette – vegetable oil in vinegar; if prepared with only oil and vinegar (without an emulsifier), yields an unstable emulsion. Mayonnaise – vegetable oil in lemon juice or vinegar, with egg yolk lecithin as emulsifier Hollandaise sauce – similar to mayonnaise  and Crema in espresso – coffee oil in water (brewed coffee), unstable

emulsifiers Info


E431 Polyoxyethylene Stearate

E432 Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan Monolaurate

E433 Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan Monooleate


E434 Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan Monopalmitate

E435 Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan Monostearate

E436 Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan Tristearate

E442 Ammonium Phosphatides/Soy Lecithin

E444 Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate


E445 Glycerol Esters of Wood Rosins


E474 Sucroglycerides


E475 Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids

E476 Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (PGPR)


E477 Propane-1,2-Diol Esters of Fatty Acids


E478 Mixture of Glycerol-and Propyleneglycol Esters of Lactic and Fatty acids*

E479 Thermally Oxidised Soya Bean Oil Interacted with Mono­ and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids


E480 Dioctyl Sodium Sulphosuccinate*


E481 Sodium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate


E482 Calcium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate



E483 Stearyl Tartrate



E484 Stearyl Citrate*

E491 Sorbitan Monostearate

E492 Sorbitan Tristearate

E493 Sorbitan Monolaurate


E495 Sorbitan Monopalmitate


E543 Sodium Calcium Polyphosphate *

E544 Calcium Polyphosphates *

E545 Ammonium Polyphosphates *

E546 Magnesium Pyrophosphate *

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* Denotes no longer in use as an additive