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Structural formula
Structural formula of inulin
n = about 35
Surname Inulin
other names
  • Almond starch
  • Alantin
  • Dahlin
  • Polyfructose
Molecular formula C 6n H 10n + 2 O 5n + 1
Brief description

white, crystalline solid

External identifiers / databases
CAS number 9005-80-5
EC number 232-684-3
ECHA InfoCard 100.029.701
PubChem 24763
ChemSpider 21240774
DrugBank DB00638
Wikidata Q201552
Drug information
ATC code

V04 CH01

Molar mass varies with the chain length of the polymer
Physical state


Melting point

178-181 ° C


soluble in hot water, slightly soluble in organic solvents

safety instructions
Please note the exemption from the labeling requirement for drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, food and animal feed
GHS labeling of hazardous substances
no GHS pictograms
H and P phrases H: no H-phrases
P: no P-phrases
As far as possible and customary, SI units are used. Unless otherwise noted, the data given apply to standard conditions .

Inulin is a mixture of polysaccharides made from fructose building blocks with a chain length of up to 100 monomers and a terminal glucose residue . It is one of the fructans .

Occurrence and discovery

Yellow inflorescence of a Jerusalem artichoke ( Helianthus tuberosus )
Jerusalem artichoke tubers, from which inulin is made
fresh yacon roots contain inulin

Many plants store inulin as a reserve substance , especially types of the sunflower and umbelliferous plants . Examples include yacon , Jerusalem artichoke , chicory , dahlia , artichoke , Dandelion , salsify , chicory , and parsnips . Inulin was discovered in 1807 by Valentin Rose the Younger in the alanten root ( Inula helénium L. ).


In nutrition

Nowadays, inulin is often used as an ingredient in food production , for example in yogurt as a fat substitute and to improve the taste, texture and mouthfeel . In sausages it is used to increase the fiber content. Inulin is one of the prebiotic food additives. It also serves as a base for the hydrolytic production of fructose and oligofructose .

Inulin can be metabolized by bifidobacteria as an energy source . This means that inulin uptake can be used for the selective accumulation of bifidobacteria in the human intestine. Excessive intake can lead to flatulence and diarrhea in people with a diet that favors unbranched and simple carbohydrates, but intestinal flora .

In lesser amounts, inulin plays a role as an additive in animal nutrition.

In the medicine

Low molecular weight inulin is soluble in warm water . It is used in physiological research to determine extracellular space because it easily penetrates the interstitium but not the cells . The measurement of the inulin clearance can be used (instead of the usual creatinine clearance ) to determine the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of the kidneys more precisely. This is possible because inulin is completely filtered in the glomerulum , but is neither secreted nor reabsorbed in the tubule system .

Inulin can be used as a starch substitute in the therapy of diabetes mellitus , as it does not affect the blood sugar level. Inulin is not absorbed in the small intestine because humans lack the degrading enzyme ( inulinase ). Instead, it is fermentatively broken down in the large intestine by bacteria ( bifidus bacteria , Bakteroides strains and Eubacteriacae ) into short-chain fatty acids . Due to the increased acid production, the pH value in the colon drops . The gases formed in the process can lead to flatulence in sensitive people (especially irritable bowel syndrome ) - the only known side effect of consuming inulin-containing plant parts, which is why inulin should also be counted among the FODMAPs . The u. a. The resulting propionates can also act as a natural appetite suppressant .

Starting material for other compounds

When roasting of chicory roots for the production of coffee substitute inulin is partially hydroxymethylfurfural converted, which provides for the coffee-like aroma.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. a b c d data sheet inulin at AlfaAesar, accessed on February 13, 2013 ( PDF )(JavaScript required) . .
  2. Inulin data sheet at Acros, accessed on November 22, 2007.
  3. ^ The Merck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals. 14th edition. Merck & Co., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA 2006, ISBN 0-911910-00-X , p. 870 #.
  4. Article on reduced- fat sausage products in ( Memento of the original from September 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Example of a poultry pie ( Memento of the original from April 18, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. opinion on fructooligosaccharides and inulin , food Chemical Society - Division of the German Chemical Society
  7. Glenn R. Gibson, Emily R. Beatty, Xin Wang, John H. Cummings: Selective stimulation of bifidobacteria in the human colon by oligofructose and inulin. In: Gastroenterology. 108, No. 4, 1995, pp. 975-982. doi: 10.1016 / 0016-5085 (95) 90192-2 .
  8. Nutritional advice Rhineland-Palatinate: Forgotten vegetables: black salsify . Last visited on January 29, 2018.
  9. ^ Kurt Widhalm: Nutritional Medicine . Ed .: Kurt Widhalm. 2nd Edition. Verlagshaus der Ärzte, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-901488-51-0 , p. 137 .
  10. A. Pedersen, B. Sandström, JM Van Amelsvoort: The effect of ingestion of inulin on blood lipids and gastrointestinal symptoms in healthy females. In: Br J Nutr. 78 (2), Aug 1997, pp. 215-222. PMID 9301412 .
  11. L. Sobotka, M. Brátova, M. Slemrová, J. Manák, J. Vizd'a, Z. Zadák: Inulin as the soluble fiber in liquid enteral nutrition. In: Nutrition. 13 (1), Jan 1997, pp. 21-25. PMID 9058443 .
  12. MVZ Institute for Microecology GmbH: FODMAP-poor diet for irritable bowel patients. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  13. Harald Frater: scinexx - Help against food cravings: A degradation product of dietary fiber inhibits the desire to feast. In: July 5, 2016, accessed July 5, 2016 .
  14. Ben-Erik van Wyk: Food Plants of the World. Timber Press, 2006, ISBN 0-88192-743-0 , p. 134.