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Dextrin. A derivative of starch (q.v.) that has been degraded by acid (q.v.), enzymes (q.v.) or heat. Dextrins are intermediate in molecular weight (q.v.) between starch molecules and those of simple sugars. Depending on the length of their dextrose (q.v.) chains, dextrins are classified as Schardinger dextrins (q.v.) when they have fewer than eight dextrose units, and limit dextrins or amylodextrins (q.v.) when their dextrose chains consist of about 25 dextrose units. Pyrodextrins (q.v.) are formed when starch is degraded by heat.