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Modified Tapioca Starch?

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 09:03 AM

What is modified tapioca starch, and how is it different from regular tapioca starch (or regular tapioca flour, which I understand are the same)? Thank you!
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DD5: juveline rheumatoid arthritis 8/07; celiac 3/08
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Posted 17 April 2008 - 05:05 AM

From Wikipedia:

Modified starch is a food additive which is prepared by treating starch or starch granules, causing the starch to be partially degraded. Modified starch is used as a thickening agent, stabilizer, or an emulsifier. Apart from food products, modified starch is also found in pharmaceuticals.

Starches are modified for a number of reasons. Starches may be modified to increase their stability against excessive heat, acid, and freezing; to change their texture; or to lengthen or shorten gelatinization time.

A modified starch may be an instant starch which thickens and gels without heat; or a cook-up starch, such as Colflo 67, which must be cooked like regular starch.

Acid-treated starch (E1401), usually simply called "modified starch", is prepared by treating starch or starch granules with inorganic acids.

Other treatments may produce modified starch with different E numbers, such as alkaline-modified starch (E1402), bleached starch (E1403), oxidized starch (E1404), enzyme-treated starch (INS: 1405), acetylated starch (E1420), and acetylated oxidized starch (E1451).
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Posted 17 April 2008 - 06:28 AM

There is also a type of modified tapioca starch called Expandex. Last I looked, they don't disclose how it is modified. I haven't tried it either, so I do not know if it's all they claimed it to be.
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Posted 17 April 2008 - 10:42 AM

Regardless of which type of modification is used, nothing of organic* origin is added during the modification. The only way modified starch can have gluten is if it is from a gluten grain in the first place, such as modified wheat starch.

*I use the word "organic" here in its original chemical meaning, not the now-popular agricultural use. In this sense, a substance is either organic (based on a life form), or inorganic (no biological content).
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Diagnosis by biopsy of practically non-existent villi; gluten-free since July 2000.
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