Maltodextrin consists of D–glucose units connected in chains of variable length. The glucose units are primarily linked with α(1→4) glycosidic bonds. Maltodextrin is typically composed of a mixture of chains that vary from three to 17 glucose units long.
Maltodextrins are classified by DE (dextrose equivalent) and have a DE between 3 and 20. The higher the DE value, the shorter the glucose chains, the higher the sweetness, the higher the solubility, and the lower heat resistance. Above DE 20, the European Union‘s CN code calls it glucose syrup; at DE 10 or lower the customs CN code nomenclature classifies maltodextrins as dextrins.