Is Glucono Delta Lactone Vegan and Cruelty-free?

August 25, 2023

Identifying whether or not a food ingredient is vegan can be like trying to find a four-leaf clover in a sprawling meadow. 

This difficulty is often caused by manufacturers playing a game of hide-and-seek with the nature and source of their ingredients. Not to mention that some ingredients are obscure and unheard of.

But fear not, dear reader! This article will shine a light on the truth and support you in your noble vegan lifestyle.

Is Glucono Delta Lactone Vegan?

Glucono delta lactone (GDL), a naturally occurring food ingredient, is entirely vegan friendly. It does not contain any animal products or by-products, making it suitable for all sorts of vegan food manufacturing and dietary restrictions. 

It’s a safe food additive, generally recognized as non-GMO and gluten-free, so it caters to a wide array of dietary needs​.

Is Glucono Delta Lactone Cruelty-Free?

The production of glucono delta lactone does not involve any form of animal cruelty. It is derived from gluconic acid, which can be produced by the oxidation of D-glucose with bromine water or with microorganisms or enzymes derived from these microorganisms. Cornstarch is the major source of glucose in its production process​.

What Is Glucono Delta Lactone Made Of?

Glucono delta-lactone (GDL) is a naturally occurring food additive used primarily as a sequestrant, an acidifier, or a curing, pickling, or leavening agent. GDL is a lactone (cyclic ester) of D-gluconic acid. 

Strictly speaking, it only consists of a single compound — gluconic acid, however, it is typically synthesized from glucose through a process involving several reagents and catalysts.

Ingredients involved in the synthesis of GDL:

  • Glucose
  • Microorganisms (like Aspergillus niger)
  • Reagents and catalysts


Glucose is a simple sugar that is an important energy source in living organisms and is a component of many carbohydrates. It is usually derived from various plant sources, most notably corn and sugarcane.

Glucose serves as the starting material in the synthesis of GDL. It is oxidized to gluconic acid, which can then be converted to GDL. Glucose derived from plant sources is vegan.


Aspergillus niger is a fungus and one of the most common species of the genus Aspergillus. It causes a disease called black mold on certain fruits and vegetables.

Certain microorganisms, including Aspergillus niger, are used in the synthesis of GDL as they produce the necessary enzymes to convert glucose to gluconic acid. Microorganisms like Aspergillus niger are vegan. While they are a form of life, they do not possess consciousness or a nervous system, and their use is generally considered acceptable in a vegan diet.

Reagents and catalysts 

Reagents and catalysts are chemicals used to promote or control a chemical reaction. They control the conversion process of glucose to gluconic acid and subsequently to GDL. The specific chemicals used can vary depending on the particular process or method of production. 

Reagents and catalysts are generally vegan. However, the vegan status of reagents and catalysts can depend on the specifics of the production process. For example, if a catalyst derived from an animal source was used in the process, it would not be vegan. However, in the commercial production of GDL, animal-derived catalysts are rarely used.

Vegan Alternatives to Glucono Delta Lactone?

While GDL is vegan, if you’re looking for alternatives, there are other food additives that can be used in its place, depending on the specific application. For instance, other leavening agents include citric acid and sodium bicarbonate, which are both vegan and widely used in food manufacturing.


To sum up, glucono delta lactone is a vegan and cruelty-free ingredient. It’s used in a variety of food products, from tofu to baked goods, and even in some cosmetics as a natural preservative. 

This versatile food additive is derived from natural ingredients like cornstarch, making it a great choice for those seeking vegan options in different brands

Always remember to check other ingredients in the product to ensure they align with your dietary restrictions.