Legislation, toxicity and uses of propylene glycol in animal feed

1,2-propanediol, propane-1,2-diol, monopropylene glycol (MPG) or propylene glycol (PG), among its many names, is characterized by being a water-soluble, colorless, odorless and oily liquid. This ingredient is recognized for having a great variety of applications on the different types of existing industry (cosmetic products, pharmaceutical products, lubricants, plasters, clays, inks or toners …), but above all it stands out in the food industry for its use as a food additive.




Among its many applications in the food sector, propylene glycol is frequently used as part of the composition of liquid sweeteners, butter, ice cream, soft drinks or coffee. In addition, and since propylene glycol has the ability to dissolve most of the existing organic compounds, it is used in the food industry as an humectant or support for emulsions, aromas, antioxidants or colorants.

If we move the focus to the animal nutrition industry, the European reference legislation on additives for feed intended for animals is included in Regulation (EC) 1831/2003. After the preparation of this legal document, the scientific panel FEEDAP (Additives and products or substances used in animal feed) of EFSA suggested a re-qualification of some of these additives, including propylene glycol, by the new name of “raw material” . This change in name was reflected in Regulation (EU) 892/2010, and since then propylene glycol has been used as a raw material in order to increase the energy requirements of cattle, sheep, goats or pigs, among others.

However, since 1996, the American legislation through the FDA considers propylene glycol as a GRAS substance in animal feed, with the exception of its use in cat food. This is because more and more scientific studies confirm that cats experience, even after consumption of very low doses of propylene glycol, a type of anemia caused by the formation of Heinz bodies.

Some of the most characteristic initial symptoms that cats can develop associated with this type of hemolytic anemia are:

  • Jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes.
  • Dark colored urine.
  • Fever.
  • Soft spot.
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion.

If the consumption of these feed is prolonged in time, the symptoms could be considerably worse. Therefore, the use of propylene glycol in cat feed formulas is highly discouraged.

Currently, propylene glycol is the only emulsifying solution to convey synthetic antioxidants such as BHA (E 320, Butylhydroxyanisole) or BHT (E 321, Butylhydroxytoluene), both widely used to prevent discoloration and oxidation of fats in many types of commercial feed. Furthermore, the maximum doses of these synthetic antioxidants must never exceed 150 ppm, individually or together, as specified in Annex III of Regulation (EC) 2316/98.

Luckily, there are companies that are concerned with developing solutions to these problems in order to protect the health of companion animals. BTSA offers 100% natural sourced antioxidant solutions intended for animal feed, and strongly avoids the use of propylene glycol in all of its formulas.

Among these antioxidant solutions 100% of natural origin and free of propylene glycol, the following stand out:

  • OXABIOL® is a natural antioxidant made from tocopherols obtained from the distillation of a single raw material: Non-GMO soybean oil extract.
  • OXABIOL® PLUS C 60 is a mixture of our antioxidant OXABIOL® with other ingredients that offer a synergistic effect.

The food industry lives in a constant transformation, whose objective will always be to satisfy the current needs of all people and animals. It is very important that all these changes always go hand in hand with the current legal framework of reference to guarantee the highest level of food safety.

To learn more about the OXABIOL® range and about all our antioxidants and products for animal nutrition, visit our website https://www.btsa.com/mercados/nutricion-animal/

Why protect breakfast cereals with natural antioxidants.

In 1863, James Caleb Jackson, an American doctor, made cold cereal consumption possible thanks to his most innovative development; the granule. The granule consisted of a mixture of baked, crumbled and re-baked cereals, which could only be consumed if they had been previously immersed in milk during the previous night.

20 years later, in the 1880’s, physician John Harvey Kellogg improved upon Dr. Jackson’s formula by introducing the combination of different types of grains, such as wheat, oats, and corn. This food became known by the term granola, as it is known today.

To get to the development of breakfast cereal flakes, we must jump forward to the 20th century. In 1906, Will Keith Kellogg, John’s brother, invented cornflakes, as we know them today. This innovative idea marked a before and after in food worldwide.

As has been known for years, cereals are one of the pillars of the Mediterranean Diet, providing a large amount of carbohydrates and proteins. In addition, it is recommended to consume whole grains because, as they maintain their outer coatings, they concentrate a large amount of fiber, numerous B group vitamins and minerals such as iron, selenium, potassium and magnesium.



The process of obtaining breakfast cereals in the food industry is the one represented in Figure 1. Next, we will see in detail the stages of preconditioning, extrusion and spray application of other components:


  • In preconditioning, the ingredients are introduced into an equipment called preconditioner, which heats, homogenizes and humidifies the mixture to facilitate the subsequent extrusion stage.
  • Subsequently, the moistened mixture is introduced into an extruder. Extruders are industrial equipment that work at high pressures and temperatures, so the water contained in the cereal mixture will evaporate so quickly that it will cause the product to expand and gelatinize the starch. Thanks to this gelatinization of cereal starch, a product of adequate digestion and assimilation is obtained.
  • The resulting product is cooled, cut, baked and re-cooled. Once we reach the last stage, certain components that may have been degraded in the process, such as vitamins, antioxidants or minerals, are incorporated by applying a spray-sprayed solution.


Once the cereal box is opened and, consequently, when the product is exposed to the oxygen in the air, the shelf life of the product begins to decrease. To prevent the product from becoming rancid due to the oxidation process, the food industry usually incorporates synthetic antioxidants, such as BHA (Butylhydroxyanisole, E 320) and BHT (Butylhydroxytoluene, E 321).


BTSA, the leading European manufacturer of Natural Antioxidants and Natural Vitamin E, offers innovative developments of 100% natural origin, such as TOCOBIOL®, a natural antioxidant made from the distillation of a single raw material: Non-GMO soybean oil.

The following laboratory test carried out by BTSA’s R&D department aims to demonstrate the greater antioxidant power of TOCOBIOL® over a commonly used blend of these two synthetic antioxidants. For this, the RapidOxy® device was used, which is based on the artificial acceleration of the oxidation process of the products. The test was carried out using the following samples:

1) Granola (without antioxidant).
2) Granola + BHA/BHT Blend.
3) Granola + TOCOBIOL®.


As can be seen in Figure 2, TOCOBIOL® doubles the antioxidant capacity of the BHA/BHT blend in granola, proving to be a great natural alternative to extend the shelf-life of this kind of products.

Therefore, and to accompany the change in the trend of consumers towards a healthier diet, BTSA is at the forefront in the continuous development of antioxidant solutions of 100% natural origin to put aside the use of synthetic products for the protection of food products.


How to increase the stability of guacamole with natural antioxidants

Avocado (Persea americana) is an edible berry native to the American continent, with Mexico being the largest producer and exporter worldwide.

Avocado is rich in fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin E, among others. Regarding its fat fraction, and in a similar way to olive oil, most of it is mono-unsaturated, so its consumption helps to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol in blood and, consequently, cardiovascular diseases.

However, this unsaturated fat is an important handicap when it comes to its preservation since, after the harvesting stage, a series of mechanisms and enzymatic chain reactions are initiated whose final destination is the oxidation of the product.

Once opened in its optimal state, an avocado can be stored for consumption, in refrigeration, for a maximum of 24 hours before its complete oxidation. For this reason, and to extend the shelf life of products that mainly contain avocado in their composition, as in the case of guacamole, the food industry traditionally incorporates synthetic antioxidants such as sodium erythorbate, a food additive that is listed in Europe with the code E-316.

The use of this and other synthetic antioxidants is often used in the food industry mainly due to its low price. However, as an alternative to these antioxidants, BTSA develops 100% natural antioxidants that are highly effective and offer an optimal antioxidant response on the final product, with the guarantee that these products are safe, healthy and will not be questioned by consumers or health authorities in the future.

Next, we present a study developed by BTSA’s R&D department, which aims to determine and compare the increase in oxidative stability of a commercial avocado sauce by adding a synthetic antioxidant and a natural one.

The synthetic antioxidant used was Sodium Erythorbate (E 316), while TOCOBIOL® was used as a natural alternative, a 100% natural antioxidant made from Tocopherols, developed exclusively by BTSA.

1) The first stage of the study consisted in extracting the fat fraction from the avocado sauce. For this, petroleum ether was used as a solvent, due to its low hygroscopicity and its great lipophilic character.

2) Next, the peroxide index that this fat fraction had was measured to know its oxidative state at the beginning of the test and to be able to continue with the oxidative stability analysis.

3) Subsequently, a RANCIMAT®, an accelerated oxidation test, was carried out at the same temperature, air flow and antioxidant concentration.




As can be seen in Table and Graph 1, the sample containing the 100% natural antioxidant TOCOBIOL® increased the oxidative stability of the avocado sauce by 31%, while the sample with the synthetic antioxidant Erythorbate Sodium (E 316) increased oxidative stability only by 14%.

In short, TOCOBIOL® offers greater oxidative protection compared to Sodium Erythorbate (E 316) in guacamole or other avocado sauces, making it a perfect natural alternative to other synthetic antioxidants used by the food industry.

One of the main objectives of BTSA is to offer the food industry 100% natural alternatives that are capable of extending the shelf life of products, thus contributing to reduce food waste as much as possible and the impact that is generated indirectly towards the environment.


From pulses to hummus. Types, properties and nutritional composition.

In the past, the type of diet gave many clues as to the position of everyone in the hierarchical pyramid of society. As a rule, the diet of individuals belonging to higher strata was based mainly on the consumption of foods of animal origin, especially big game meat. In contrast, the common people’s diet consisted mainly of plant-based foods, such as cereals, pulses, vegetables, and fruit.

Today, with the foundations of dietetics in place, it is known that regular consumption on plant-based foods prevents the onset of different types of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and colon cancer. That said, it can be affirmed that the common people ate healthier.

Of all plant-based foods, pulses are the ones that most closely resemble the composition of meat thanks to their high protein content, which makes them an excellent dietary substitute. Currently, dietary guidelines in different countries recommended that people increase their consumption of pulses as, as well as containing a high percentage of protein, they are rich in fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Traditionally, pulses have been associated with winter food. A good plate of cooked or stewed pulses combats the cold and comforts body and soul. This is not entirely true, as there are a multitude of ways to eat them cold: sprouted, seasoned or in the form of hummus, among many others.

Hummus, a very old and common recipe from Middle Eastern countries, has become internationally popular in recent years. Hummus consists mainly of chickpeas, olive oil, sesame paste, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and paprika.




In terms of its composition, as can be seen in Table 1, hummus contains a large amount of fat, mostly unsaturated. As this type of fat can oxidise very easily, the lemon juice in its composition slows down this process, thus extending the shelf life of the product somewhat.

At BTSA we are aware of the problems that the food industry has associated with the preservation and shelf life of this type of products that are so susceptible to oxidation and, therefore, to the loss of their initial organoleptic characteristics. For this reason, the company develops 100% natural antioxidant solutions to further extend the shelf life of foods.

TOCOBIOL® is a natural antioxidant made from the distillation of a single raw material: Non-GMO soybean oil. It naturally contains tocopherols, sterols, squalene and monoglycerides, which provide its unique antioxidant and dispersing properties.

The following test carried out by the company on a vegetable oil is intended to show the antioxidant efficacy of TOCOBIOL®. This test has been carried out on a RANCIMAT® device, which has the capacity to perform a comparative study of accelerated oxidation with samples at different antioxidant doses.




According to the data shown in Graph 1, a dose of 1500 ppm of TOCOBIOL® (0.15% by weight of the final product) increases the shelf life of the food by around 50%. Therefore, TOCOBIOL® can be a great alternative of 100% natural origin to further extend the shelf life of this type of food.

BTSA is the leading European manufacturer offering innovative natural antioxidant solutions and has more than 25 years of experience in the sector.



Properties, uses and antioxidant protection of macadamia nut oil in cosmetics.

The skin, in addition to being the largest organ in our body, acts as a protective shield against external aggressions from the environment, such as UV rays, atmospheric pollution or cold. Therefore, it is of great importance to protect it every day to promote its regeneration and ensure that it fulfills its function.

One of the ingredients that are usually used in natural cosmetic formulations are essential oils, since on the one hand they provide pleasant aromas and on the other, they convey numerous compounds that serve as nutrients for the skin.

Essential oils are found naturally in many fruits, seeds or plants, and to fully preserve their properties, they must be extracted exclusively by physical cold pressing methods.

Currently, the use of macadamia nut oil as an ingredient in cosmetic products is growing exponentially, due to the many benefits and nutrients it provides to the skin, among which are:

  • It is rich in oleic acid. Nutrient that stands out for its high penetration capacity on the skin, exerting an extra benefit on dry skin.
  • It has a high concentration of group B vitamins. Vitamin B3 or niacin stands out, which is capable of improving the skin’s repair mechanisms against external aggressions such as UV rays from the sun.
  • Thanks to its protein content, it provides elasticity and firmness to the skin.
  • Provides essential trace elements. Selenium provides flexibility to tissues and delays skin aging. Zinc enhances collagen synthesis.

However, the fatty acid composition of macadamia nut oil makes it very prone to oxidation and, consequently, to the loss of these benefits. As a solution, and to keep all these nutrients intact so that they can exert their correct function on the skin, the cosmetic industry adds a series of antioxidants, which in most cases are of synthetic origin. One of these artificial antioxidants is TBHQ (Tertiary butylhydroquinone, E-319), used for its high effectiveness in vegetable oils.

But today’s consumers are looking for cosmetic products that provide the same benefits, without the use of synthetic ingredients or additives, especially those whose use can be questioned due to its impact in health.

In this sense, manufacturers of personal care products must seek new antioxidant solutions, of natural origin and with the same antioxidant effectiveness.

Next, we present the results of a Rancimat® test, an accelerated oxidation test, carried out to compare the antioxidant power of TBHQ and BIOXAN® T90, in a sample of macadamia nut oil. The trial was carried out at BTSA’s R&D Center, using the same dose for each antioxidant and the same parameters such as airflow and temperature.

  • Macadamia Nut Oil (without antioxidant)
  • Macadamia Nut Oil + TBHQ
  • Macadamia Nut Oil + BIOXAN® T90


The data obtained reflects that BIOXAN® T90 not only equals, but exceeds the performance of TBHQ to stabilize a macadamia nut oil sample, showing that with natural products the same results can be obtained when stabilizing a product and protect it against oxidation.

BIOXAN® T90, is a 100% natural antioxidant made from concentrated tocopherols from the distillation of Non-GMO soybean oil. In addition, it has the COSMOS APPROVED seal, a quality guarantee on the origin of its ingredients in aspects such as its ecological procedure and processing, respect for biodiversity, and the absence of GMO and petrochemicals, among others.

To learn more about BIOXAN® and about all our antioxidants and products for the cosmetic industry, visit our website https://www.btsa.com/en/markets/cosmetics/


Ebook Supplier


How to avoid the loss of properties of colors and pigments?

The use of colors and pigments is a very widespread practice in the food or cosmetic industry to make products more attractive or to enhance some of their own characteristics.

Dyes have been used since ancient times, mainly with products existing in nature itself, but with the appearance of the production industry of food or cosmetics for human consumption, products originating from the chemical industry began to be used, that is, synthetic colors and pigments. Fortunately for consumers, the trend in the use of colorants is to return to products of natural origin.

However, one of the main problems with colorants is the loss of color and flavor due to oxidation caused by the presence of air, light or high temperatures.

Thanks to natural antioxidants such as TOCOBIOL®, the oxidation process can be slowed down without the need to introduce synthetic antioxidants into food or personal care products, which are increasingly limited due to their toxicity and progressive disuse, such as TBHQ ( E 319), BHA (E 320) or BHT (E 321).

At BTSA, from our R&D laboratory we are constantly developing new natural products for our clients in various fields, and manufacturers of colors and pigments increasingly require natural antioxidant solutions to protect their products from the loss of their properties.

In our laboratory we have the ability to perform accelerated oxidation tests in different methods, such as the SCHAAL, RANCIMAT® or RAPIDOXY® methods.

These methods accelerate the oxidation processes of the samples, and by measuring certain control parameters it is possible to determine when a sample has oxidized, and thus be able to make comparisons with samples stabilized with different antioxidants at different concentrations.

Here we present the results of an oxidation study carried out on red paprika, a natural color used in many food products, and we can see how TOCOBIOL® exerts a very positive action in maintaining the quality of the product, counteracting the action of degradative factors and maintaining a better preservation of the coloring and nutritional properties of the product.


Image 1 shows the comparison of how the red paprika gradually loses its original color, turning brown due to the action of accelerated oxidation in a controlled environment.

The sample on the left has been treated with TOCOBIOL®, a natural antioxidant developed exclusively by BTSA, while the sample on the right has no protection, so it has lost its original color and acquired a rancid taste.

Tests like this show that a natural antioxidant such as TOCOBIOL® not only has proven efficacy, but that its greater thermal stability makes it an ideal product for the food and cosmetic industry.



Why add vegetable extracts to TOCOBIOL®?

At BTSA, in our R&D laboratory, we are constantly testing new natural solutions for our clients, and one of our main lines of research is the combination of Tocopherols with other vegetable extracts, such as Green Tea Extract.

Main certificates in the Animal Nutrition industry

In order to guarantee product quality and food safety, the industry has developed a series of certifications that allow manufacturers of products for animal nutrition to meet these objectives. These certifications regulate producers and traders of feed and its components, as well as its handling and transport.

How to choose a supplier of additives or ingredients? Part 2

In the previous article, we reviewed the first seven factors that must be taken into account when evaluating and selecting a supplier of additives or ingredients. Now, we will see seven new points that should not be forgotten when making such an important decision for your company.

How to choose a supplier of additives or ingredients? Part 1

One of the key elements for the prosperity and stability of a company has to do with the choice of its suppliers and the relationship it has with them. That is why it is essential to carry out an identification, investigation and comparison process between the different supplying companies in order to guarantee the right choice.