What is Triacetin(Glycerol triacetate)?

Triacetin(Glycerol triacetate)

also known as glyceryl triacetate, is pharmaceutical excipient used in manufacturing of capsules and tablets, and has been used as a humectant, plasticizer, and solvent. It is a liquid, and has been approved by the FDA as a food additive. Triacetin is a water-soluble short-chain triglyceride that may also have a role as a parenteral nutrient according to animal studies.It is also used in the perfume and cosmetic industries.


It is an artificial chemical compound, commonly used as a food additive, for instance as a solvent in flavourings, and for its humectant function, with E number E1518 and Australian approval code A1518. Triacetin is also a component of casting liquor with TG and as an excipient in pharmaceutical products, where it is used as a humectant, a plasticizer, and as a solvent.
Triacetin can also be used as a fuel additive as an antiknock agent which can reduce engine knocking in gasoline, and to improve cold and viscosity properties of biodiesel.
In a 1994 report released by five top cigarette companies, triacetin was listed as one of the 599 cigarette additives. The triacetin is applied to the filter as a plasticizer.
It has been considered as a possible source of food energy in artificial food regeneration systems on long space missions. It is believed to be safe to get over half of one’s dietary energy from triacetin.

Triacetin, like propylene glycol, is used as a food grade solvent.  It can be used in some flavours to dissolve powdered ingredients, such as vanillin and heliotrope.  Sometimes triacetin is used to improve the stability of flavours that are “heat stressed” in baking and cooking applications.


US Food and Drug Administration has approved it as Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) food additive and included it in the database according to the opinion from the Select Committee On GRAS Substances (SCOGS).

“Three types of acetostearins have been found to be without toxic effects in long-term feeding tests in rats at levels up to 5 g per kg per day. This contrasts with an estimated human consumption of a fraction of a milligram per kg per day.

It is recognized that at an even higher feeding level (10 g per kg per day) male rats developed testicular atrophy and female rats, uterine discoloration.

However, such a level which would amount to 50 g or more for an infant and 600 g for an adult per day, is vastly higher than would be possible in the consumption of foods to which acetostearins are added for functional purposes.” Triacetin is included in the SCOGS database since 1975.

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