Guide to Food Additives - M

Guide to Food Additives - M

Name Other Names Purpose SourcedFlo

Macadamia Oil

Macadamia tre

Source of monounsaturated fat, 1-2 year shelf life, 210C(410F) smoke point, 300C(572F) flash point, used as salad oil, frying and baking

Extracted from Macadamia, Macadamia integrifolia, plant, native to Australia


Nutmeg, true nutmeg, common nutmeg

Delicate nutmeg flavoring spice added to baked goods, meat, fish, vegetables, preserving and picling

Made from covering of nutmeg seed


E966, Lacty

Magnesium compounds added to fortify or supplement foods

Essential nutrient found in spices, nuts, cocoa, vegetables & leafy greens

Magnesium carbonate

E504(i), magnesite

Mostly insoluble in water, insoluble in alcohol, bleaching and anti-caking agent, releasing agent in biscuits & soft drinks

Oobtained by mining magnesite, primarily in China

Magnesium chloride


Sterilizing vegetables, emulsifier, firming agent

Occurs in sea water to promote growth of corals, algae, clams and invertebrates

Magnesium citrate


Water soluble colorless white crystalline powder, magnesium fortification in diet, acidity regulator, laxative,

Synthesized with magnesium, found in many foods, and citric acid, found in many citrus fruits

Magnesium diglutamate

E625, magnesium glutamate

Used as a flavor enhancer for umami taste, reducing the need for flavoring

Produced commercially by bacterial fermentation, soy & vegetable sources

Magnesium hydroxide

E528, magnesium hydroxide, milk of magnesia

Antacid tablets, capsules, powder and liquids, laxative, neutralizing acidic waste water for treatment, acidity regulator

Found as a mineral in the form of Brucite ore.

Magnesium lactate


Highly water soluble white crystalline powder, acidity regulator, added to baked goods, cereals, snacks, confectionery, dairy, desserts and beverages, magnesium fortification


Magnesium oxide

E530, Magnesia

Anti-caking agent and acidity regulator, used in canned peas, cocoa products and frozen desserts, laxative

Synthesized by calcination of magnesium hydroxide, using sea water

Magnesium phosphates


Emulsifier, increasing ant-caking agent in powders, magnesium fortification in foods, baked products, athletic products, infant formulas & supplements

Produced from phosphoric acid produced by mining and phosphates being essential salts for the body

Magnesium silicate

E553b, Talc

Buffing agent in processing white rice to polish, anti-caking agent in salt

Obtained by mining

Magnesium stearate

E572, Magnesium octadecanoate

Anti-caking and emulsifying agent in confectionery, inhibits disintegration of powders and tablets, creating pressed candies and releasing agent, binding sugar in candies, infant formulas

Synthesized, produced from vegetable products

Magnesium sulphate

518, Epsom salt, English salt, bath salt

Brewing salt in brewing beer, coagulating agent for producing tofu, magnesium fortification in foods,

Produced using magnesium salts and sulphuric acid, natural mineral


Mahalepi, mahlep

Seed kernels used as flavoring in sweet foods, cakes and cheeses and various baked goods, pastry dishes, snacks and holiday breads

Spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry


Malabathron, malobathrum

Cinnamon like aromatic plant leaves used as spice in savory foods, flavoring wine & meat dishes

Plant grown mostly in eastern Himalayas

Malic acid

E296, L-Malic Acid, D-Malic acid, "malic" in latin means "apple"

Creates sourness in unripe fruits, tartness to wine, "salt and vinegar" potato chips, extremely tart candy

Firest isolated from apple juice in 1785, found in various fruits such as apricots, berries, pears, plums, peaches, grapes

Malt extract

Liquid malt extract, dry malt extract

Brewing beer, Creating liquid malt extract used for baking and sweetening

Malt is produced by germinating cereal grain, malt extract is further refined to create malt extract


E965, Maltitol syrup

70-90% sweetness of sucrose(table sugar), doesn't promote tooth decay, low calorie, used to produce sugar-free candy, chewing gum, chocolates, baked goods, ice-cream and confectionery, produces less crystals than table sugar

Synthesized by hydrogenation of maltose from starch


Levisticum officinale

Moderately sweet powder, improves mouthfeel of foods and beverages, used in chips and jerky, low fat peanut butter to maintain texture, athletic and energy drinks for athletes, infant formula thickener, high glycemic index response

Synthesized by partial hydrolysis of vegetable starch or enzymatically from starch


E636, Larixinic acid, palatone, veltol

Flavor enhancer, soluble in hot water, adds aroma of fresh baked bread in breads and cakes

Synthesized, found in the bark of larch tree, pine needles and malt


Maltobiose, malt sugar

30-60% sweet as sugar, used to sweeten food products

Component of malt, by product of grain softening

Mandarin oil


Used to add aroma to food

Extracted from mandarins from the same name tree.


E421, Osmitrol, D-mannitol, mannite, manna sugar

Low glycemic sweetener, soluble in higher heat, holds low water content, used in gums, candies and coating dried fruits

Sugar alcohol derived from sugar, commercially produced by hydrogenation of fructose, isolated from seaweed


Oleo, oleomargarine, marge, "Non-dairy spread"

Used instead of butter in pastries, doughnuts, cakes, cookies and as a spread

Synthetic replacement of animal fat created from vegetable oil and water


Sweet marjoram, knotted marjoram, pot marjoram

Used to season soups, stews, dressings, sauces and making herbal teas

Synonymous with oregano, plant found in Cyprus, Turkey and middle eastern regions


Arabic gum(not gum Arabic), Yemen gum, tears of Chios

Spice in foods, baking & cooking, aroma for ice-cream & desserts, part of Arab, Japanese & Mediterranean cuisines, also used in soft drinks, puddings, coffee additive, stabilizing agent, breads, cheese and in savory meat dishes

Sun-dried resin extracted from mastic tree



Gives toasted marshmallow flavor to honey by bee pollination

Plant found extensively in Western North America


Mega "Cherry Shade" Grape Juice Concentrate

Added to wines to enhance sensory attributes such as color, taste and mouth feel

Produced from wine grape Rubired

Mentha arvensis

Corn mint, wild mint, field mint

Used to extract mint flavor such as menthol, menthone, isomenthone, neomenthol, limonene, methylacetate and other extracts. Extracts used in drinks, foods, cough medicine, creams and dental care

Plant native to Europe, Asia, & North America

Metatartaric acid


Used in wine to prevent precipitation and in fruit juices

Synthesized from tartaric acid, found in many fruits


Used to frotify foods and animal feeds

Essential amino acid primarily found in poultry, meat, fish, cereals, nuts and plant seeds, synthesized for commercial purposes

Methyl butyrate

Methyl butanoate, butanoic acid methyl ester

Used as a an aromatic for apple or pineapple scent or as a flavoring agent

Found in small amounts in plants

Methyl disulfide

DMDS, Methyl disulfide

Garlic like odor used in onion, garlic, cheese, meats, soups, savory flavors and fruit flavors in very tiny amounts

Odor compound emitted from bacteria, fungi, plants and animals

Methyl ethyl cellulose

E465, ethyl methyl cellulose

Vegetable gum used as thickening agent, filler, fiber, anti-clumping agent, foaming agent and emulsifier


Derived from cellulose, found in all plants

Methyl isobutyrate

Methyl 2-methylpropanoate

Added to drinks, ice-cream, candies and baked goods to give fruity and sweet flavor and taste


Synthesized, found in fruits such as apple, banan, kumqat peel, blueberry, strawberry, dill and fried potato

Methyl cellulose

E461, Cellulose, methyl ether, methylated cellulose

As a gel sets when hot and melts when cold, texture enhancing agent in vegetarian burgers, filler & dietary fiber, used in baked goods, fried foods, desserts, candies & soups, Indigestible, thickener & emulsifier, 3D printing food


Produced from cellulose, found in all plants and woooden structures



Anti-fungal agent and preservative


Pheromone in a variety of insects including queen bees, wolves


Caffeine, guaranine

Stimulant, Cognitive & physical performance booster,


Extracted from coffee beans from coffee fruit



Used as an ingredient to create several food products across the globe


Produced by mammary glands of mammals as a nutrition source for infant mammals


Milk thistle

Silybum marianum, cardus marianus, Mary thistle, Scotch thistle

Roots eaten raw or boiled and roasted, leaves trimmed and boiled as spinach substitute, flower head bracts used in stews

Native to South Europe and Asia, grown globally



Sweet, aromatic and cool aroma and taste, added to beverages, teas, jellies, syrups, mouth wash, chewing gum, mint chocolates, candies & ice-creams, garnishing alcoholic drinks

Plant grown globally in wet environments and soils

Modified starch

Various types of starch derivatives used for various purposes

Thickening desserts, preventing runniness during cooking, low fat yogurts or meat products, frozen products to prevent dripping when defrosted, dressings, jelly beans, batters and fat substitute

Sytnehsized from variuos starches


Black treacle

Used to sweeten food products and backed goods, distilling rum, making rye bread, cookies, pies, gingerbread, BBQ sauces, stout beers, emulsifying, major part of brown sugar, humidity absorber in jerky, yeast production

Refining sugarcane or sugar beets


Black treacle

Found primarily in trace amounts within several foods

Found in pork, lamb, beef liver, eggs, sunflower seeds, wheat, lentils, green beans and cereals

Monada didyma

Bergamot (Not Bergamot orange), crimson beebalm, Oswego tea

Used to make tea

Aromatic herb found in North America

Mono and diglycerides of fatty acids


Used as an emulsifier in various products

Present in seed oils, synthesized using fats/oils and glycerol, may be vegetable or animal based

Monoammonium glutamate


Enhances umami flavor in various low sodium products

Ammonium salt of glutamic acid, used by nearly all living things while making protein

Monopotassium glutamate

E622, MPG

Enhances umami flavor in various low sodium products, alternative to monosodium glutamate(MSG)

Potassium salt of glutamic acid, used by nearly all living things while making protein

Monosodium glutamate

E621, sodium glutamate, MSG, Tasting Powder, MSG monohydrate

White crystalline powder that enhances umami flavor in various low sodium products, provides savory aroma, used in stock cubes(Bouillon), soups, ramen, gravy, stews, condiments, snacks and various food products

Sodium salt of glutamic acid, a non-essential amino acid. Found in tomatoes, grapes, cheese, mushrooms and various other foods. Produced mostly by bacterial fermentation.

Monostarch phosphate


Thickening and stabiliizing agent, fermented by intestinal microbioa

Prepared using starch and phosphoric acid

Montanic acid esters

Montan wax, octacosanoic acid esters

Forms a protective layer on fruit skins and foods

Solvent extraction of brown coal(lignite)



Used to make tea

Native plant to Europe, Mediterranean & Asia

Mustard (Condiment)

Various types (eg. dijon, english, French, American, beer, honey, fruit, pepper)

Sharp, hot & pungent flavoring condiment with meals, ingredient in mayonnaise, vinaigrette, sauces and marinades, hot dogs, pretzels, bratwurst, soups, creams and emulsifier

Prepared by grounding mustard seeds into a paste

Mustard plant

Mustard seed, plant & oil

Grinding seeds with a liquid yields mustard condiment, seeds can be used as a spice, oil pressed from seed is used for cooking in several south Asian dishes

Prepared by grounding mustard seeds into a paste