DATEM is an emulsifier used in bread making, like hamburger buns

Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Ester of Mono- and Diglycerides (DATEM)

Also known as diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids

What is DATEM?

Diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, or simply DATEM, is an emulsifier used in breadmaking to strengthen the dough structure so that it can successfully expand during proofing and baking.

This emulsifier helps:

  • increase volume in a variety of products
  • provide a very uniform and fine crumb grain in bread and buns


DATEM is a food additive that is commercially produced from mono- and diglycerides derived from vegetable oils and/or fats that have been esterified with organic acids.


It is used in bread, buns and many other yeast-leavened bakery products at levels of 0.2–0.6% (based on flour weight). DATEM possesses excellent dough strengthening properties due to its ability to adsorb at the gas/liquid interface of dough and stabilize the foam structure trapped by the gluten matrix and prevent gas bubble coalescence.1,2 So, DATEM enhances gas (CO2) retention and improves tolerance to shocks in case of mechanical abuse during final proofing and baking.

Due to its anionic nature, DATEM also has the capacity to interact with gluten proteins, promoting protein aggregation.2

Commercial production

DATEM are composed of:

  1. Glycerol derivatives esterified with edible fatty acids, and
  2. Mono and diacetyl tartaric acids.

There are two different processes needed for the production of these species that make up DATEM:2

  1. The esterification of mono- and diglycerides with tartaric and acetic acids in the presence of acetic acid anhydride.
  2. The reaction of diacetyl tartaric acid in the presence of acetic acid with mono- and diglycerides. First, the diacetyl tartaric acid is produced from the reaction of diacetyl tartaric acid with acetic acid. The acetic acid generated in this reaction has to be removed by distillation. The final reaction with monoglycerides is possible once acetic acid is removed.

Chart outlining the commercial production of DATEM.



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