Altered starches, commonly utilized as food additives, play a crucial role in improving the texture, stability, and overall properties of processed foods. Derived from sources such as corn, potato, wheat, or tapioca, these modified starches undergo chemical modifications to enhance their functional attributes. While generally regarded as safe for human consumption, concerns regarding potential health effects, especially with prolonged or excessive exposure, have been raised. This article reviews studies investigating the short-term and subchronic toxicity of various modified starches in different animal models.
Oxidised Starch (E 1404)
In a study on weanling albino rats, starch treated with chlorine showed no toxic effects. Another study involving rats fed chlorine-treated cornstarch found no adverse effects, concluding that modified starch did not cause harm at any tested level.
Monostarch Phosphate (E 1410)
No available data.
Distarch Phosphate (E 1412)
In rat studies, two types of distarch phosphate, modified with phosphorus oxychloride, demonstrated no abnormalities in appearance, behavior, or health measures. Dogs and pigs also showed no adverse effects in various parameters when exposed to distarch phosphate.
Phosphated Distarch Phosphate (E 1413)
Studies involving rats exhibited inconsistent results. While some indicated no negative effects, others reported reduced weight gain in females and a high number of deaths, limiting the value for risk assessment. Dog and pig studies showed no adverse effects at different doses.
Acetylated Distarch Phosphate (E 1414)
Rat studies revealed no significant body weight differences, though higher levels of acetylated distarch phosphate led to increased fecal water content. Pigs showed normal growth, but some experienced sudden deaths, limiting evaluation. Hamster studies indicated lower daily food intake but comparable weight gain in the test group.
Acetylated Starch (E 1420)
Rat studies showed reduced body weight at higher acetylation levels, along with increased faecal dry matter. Dogs exhibited normal parameters. Hamster studies revealed lower daily food intake but comparable weight gain in the test group.
Acetylated Distarch Adipate (E 1422)
Rat studies indicated slower growth and higher caecal weights in the test group. Hamster studies showed slightly lower food intake in the modified starch diet but comparable weight gain.
Hydroxypropyl Starch (E 1440)
Rat studies demonstrated no harmful effects in mortality, urinalysis, or blood testing, though mild diarrhea occurred at the highest dietary level. Caecal enlargement was observed in some instances. Another study indicated normal growth with increased faecal dry matter at higher dietary levels.
Hydroxypropyl Distarch Phosphate (E 1442)
Male rat studies showed reduced growth and body weights at higher consumption levels, along with increased caecal weights. Female rats exhibited higher caecal weights but no other abnormalities. Hamster studies indicated increased weight in the caecum but no differences in liver and kidney weights.
Starch Sodium Octenyl Succinate (E 1450)
Rat studies demonstrated slightly slower growth in the substituted starch group, attributed to decreased food consumption. F1b generation rats showed no significant compound-related effects on growth, serum chemistry, or haematology.
Acetylated Oxidised Starch (E 1451)
Rat studies indicated soft feces and increased caecal weights at higher acetylated oxidised starch levels. A 90-day study found no major adverse effects, with some minor findings in urinary bladder and kidney epithelium.
Starch Aluminium Octenyl Succinate (E 1452)
Rat studies involving aluminum octenyl succinate derivative showed no significant differences in weight gain, behavior, or growth compared to non-modified starch.