Dextrose is a form of simple sugar, or glucose, derived from starch. Dextrose can be made from many kinds of starch, including wheat, rice, potato, cassava and arrowroot. One of the cheapest and most common sources of dextrose is corn.
According to the Corn Refiners Association, 33,000 acres of corn are delivered daily to corn-conversion factories, where they are processed into corn products like dextrose. After initial inspection, corn is soaked for up to 40 hours.
As the corn kernels absorb moisture, they expand. The gluten bonds that hold starch molecules together start to break apart.
Once the corn germ has been removed, the resulting slurry of water and corn is sifted across screens. These screens capture corn fiber, releasing the remaining corn starch and gluten.
The corn starch is isolated from the gluten. Once it is washed and diluted, enzymes and acids are added to convert corn starch into dextrose.
Dextrose is a common ingredient in many processed snack foods, especially cookies and cakes. It is also a popular filler for artificial sugar substitutes.