Vegetable Glycerin (VG) 1 Gallon
Glycerol /ˈɡlɪsərɒl/ (also called glycerine or glycerin; see spelling differences) is a simple polyol (sugar alcohol) compound. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is sweet-tasting and non-toxic. It is widely used in the food industry as a sweetener and humectant and in pharmaceutical formulations. Glycerol has three hydroxyl groups that are responsible for its solubility in water and its hygroscopic nature. The glycerol backbone is central to all lipids known as triglycerides.
Glycerol can be either synthetic, or derived from plants (usually soybeans or palm) or animals (usually tallow). Approximately 950,000 tons per year are produced in the United States and Europe; 350,000 tons of glycerol were produced per year in the United States alone from 2000 to 2004. Production will increase as the EU directive 2003/30/EC is implemented, which required the replacement of 5.75% of petroleum fuels with biofuel across all member states by 2010, as glycerol is a byproduct in the production of biodiesel. It was projected in 2006 that by the year 2020, production would be six times more than demand.
Vegetable glycerin, or glycerol, is a clear, odorless liquid produced from plant oils, typically palm oil, soy, or coconut oil. Palm and coconut oils are natural triglyceride mixtures; each triglyceride is composed of three fatty acids esterified with glycerin. Vegetable glycerin has a number of valuable applications that include cosmetic products, foods, and as a replacement for alcohol in herbal and botanical tinctures.
Vegetable glycerin is produced using an extraction process called hydrolysis. During hydrolysis, oils are placed under the combined force of pressure, temperature, and water. The ester bond breaks and causes the glycerin to split from fatty acids and be absorbed by water; at which point the resultant is further isolated by distillation to increase purity. Purified vegetable glycerin has a texture similar to an oil or syrup due to its organic molecular makeup, specifically, three hydroxyl groups.
Vegetable glycerin used in food applications is USP grade or over 99% pure and has a sweet taste. Vegetable glycerin metabolizes differently than sugar and is used in low carbohydrate foods for sweetness and moisture. Unlike sugar, glycerin does not contribute to tooth decay.
Many household products, including lotions, shampoo, and toothpaste, contain vegetable glycerin. Glycerin is added to these products because it is a humectant; a substance that attracts moisture to the skin. In the cosmetic world, this has two practical applications. First, glycerin leaves your skin hydrated. Glycerin soap, for example, is popular for that very reason. Second, for cosmetic products that deliver an active ingredient, a humectant can increase the solubility of the active ingredient, making it more easily absorbed by the skin.
Vegetable glycerin may be used as a solvent and substitute for alcohol when producing botanical and herbal extracts. This is advantageous for people who wish to avoid alcohol exposure.
Vegetable glycerin is a common component of e-liquid, a solution used with electronic vaporizers (electronic cigarettes), that is heated with an atomizer to produce a vapor in order to deliver flavors and optionally nicotine.
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