Ethyl Lauroyl Arginate

Ethyl Lauroyl Arginate

Ethyl Lauroyl Arginate is an antimicrobial food preservative. It prevents contamination and spoilage from a wide range of bacteria, yeasts and moulds.

Other names for Ethyl Lauroyl Arginate include:

  • Lauric arginate ethyl ester
  • Lauramide ethyl ester
  • LAE
  • INS No. 243
  • Lauric arginate (Trade name)
  • Mirenat®

The E Number for Ethyl Lauroyl Arginate is E243.

Description

Ethyl lauroyl arginate is a synthetic chemical derived from lauric acid, L-arginine and ethanol. It is patented by the Spanish company Grupo Lamirsa.

It is typically found as a white powder. This can present some technical difficulties in food processing because it often needs to be applied evenly and in low doses. To make it easier to work with, liquid forms can be created by dissolving it in food grade solvents such as Glycerol.

How Does It Work?

It is classified as a cationic surfactant. A surfactant is basically a soap molecule where one end is attracted to fats and oils while the other end is attracted to water. The end of the molecule that is attracted to water contains a positively charged ion (a cation).

As a preservative, it acts to break down the membranes in bacteria, yeast, or mould cells. Once the membranes have been broken, the cells die.

Common Uses

Recently Health Canada released a statement indicating they plan on approving Ethyl Lauroyl Arginate for use.

The Bureau of Chemical Safety would like to advise you of the following update on “Food Additives”:

Notice of Proposal to Enable the Use of a New Food Additive, Ethyl Lauroyl Arginate, as a Preservative in Various Standardized and Unstandardized Foods

Applications may include:

  • water-based non-alcoholic beverages,
  • soups,
  • cheese products,
  • sauces and dips,
  • ketchup,
  • pie fillings, and
  • meat, poultry and fish products

Ethyl Lauroyl Arginate is currently approved in the U.S. where it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS)1. It is also approved for use in Australia and New Zealand2. Although it has been assigned an E number, it is not yet approved in Europe3.

Side Effects / Health Issues

Most studies seem to conclude that, when ingested by humans, ethyl lauroyl arginate will be broken down to products of normal metabolism. As a result, it does not accumulate in the body and does not pose a long term risk.

When reviewed by the European Food Safety panel, ingestion of ethyl lauroyl arginate produced noticeable effects on the white blood cell counts of rats. Based on these results, the panel set an acceptable daily intake (ADI) level. However, when the estimated total exposure based on European diet was calculated, they found that the ADI would likely be exceeded.

References

  1. FDA GRAS Notice for Ethyl Lauroyl Arginate
  2. Australia Food Standards List of Additives
  3. Current EU approved additives and their E Numbers

Further Reading

Consultation Document on Health Canada’s Proposal to Enable the Use of a New Food Additive, Ethyl Lauroyl Arginate, as a Preservative in Various Standardized and Unstandardized Foods

Food Quality and Safety: The Lowdown on Lauric Arginate

Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food on a request from the Commission related to an application on the use of ethyl lauroyl arginate as a food additive

NutraFoods: Mirenat new antimicrobial based on LAE

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