Starch Food & Non-Food

The key activity of the Starch Food & Non-Food departments involves developing special starches for use in the food industry and in the technical sector (paper, corrugated cardboard, textiles, construction, adhesives, bioplastics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, etc.). The starches are customised using chemical, enzymatic or physical processes and applied testing of the starch products for a whole variety of different application areas can be performed in our laboratories.

A very well-equipped technical centre enables the use of important technologies, such as extrusion, separation, evaporation, drying, solid/liquid separation, starch production and many more, on a pilot scale of 1 to 2,000 kg.

Starch Expertise

Thanks to many years of working in the starch segment, the AGRANA Research & Innovation Center has developed core expertise in starch and its applications. In addition to the physical and chemical characterisation of starches and starch derivatives, one particular key activity is the applied testing of starch products and their diverse areas of application.



Starch products are used in a variety of ways in the paper industry. For example, starch and starch derivatives are used in the paper mass, in treating the paper surface, as a binding agent or co-binder for coating colours, as a paper coating agent or emulsifier and retention system for sizing agents. The Agrana Research & Innovation Center has all the standard testing processes to characterise starches for applications in the paper segment. ARIC is also equipped with a mobile laboratory for the analysis of surface starches and circulation waters directly in paper factories.

Corrugated Board

Starch is THE adhesive in the production of corrugated cardboard. The Agrana Research & Innovation Center has all the standard testing processes needed to characterise starches and glues used in the manufacture of corrugated cardboard. In addition, Agrana Research & Innovation Center has a mobile pilot plant that makes it possible to produce cardboard and lamination glues in a practice-oriented manner in line with the glue kitchens in the corrugated cardboard industry.


The adhesion of paper and paper-like materials using products that contain starch extends over a wide range of industrial applications. Modified pregelatinised starches are normally used.

The focus of these activities is on paper-to-paper adhesion, for example in the production of paper bags, lamination and label adhesion on glass bottles. The testing of starches in aqueous adhesive formulations regarding rheology and adhesive properties and the application-focused assessment of adhesives are important areas of expertise.


Starches and starch products have been an incredibly important process material in the textile industry for decades. The two main application areas are textile printing and sizing.

Starch printing thickeners are used in textile printing to give the print pastes a high viscosity in order to ensure that colour patterns are printed on textiles with sharp contours and intensive colours.

Sizing describes the application of a viscoplastic, abrasion-proof and fibre-gluing film on textile fibres with subsequent drying. This technique enables the weaving of yarns in high performance looms.

Other important applications of starches and starch products include being used as stiffening for gauze, adhesives for textile panels and stiffening for glass-fibre wallpaper.

Construction Chemicals

Starch and starch derivatives, usually cold-swelling starch ethers, based on a wide range of raw materials are used in the construction industry as an additive for hydraulic binding agents, such as cement, lime and gypsum basis. The starches or starch derivatives have a major influence on the rheology of the binding agent systems. In particular, they act as efficient thickeners, rheology transmitters, water retention agents and processing agents. The major properties of starch derivatives include their rapid swelling and, in turn, their fast thickening and development of their rheological properties. In addition, starch ethers have adhesive and stabilising effects on cement, lime and gypsum basis.

Bio Plastics

In the field of bioplastics, starch can either be used as a simple filler or as a functional component (thermoplastic starch) in starch blends. To produce thermoplastic starch, starch is extruded using plasticisers and other processing materials. In combination with other bio-degradable polymers, the thermoplastic starch may then be processed into moulds, films, etc. using standard plastics processing machines, e.g. extrusion, injection moulding. As a result, products are obtained that consist primarily of sustainable resources and are biologically degradable. Bioplastics can be used as packaging material and biodegradable films, as a fastening material in agriculture and gardening, and in biocompatible materials in medical technology. From an ecological and economic perspective, the potential of bioplastics remains immense. Thus, there is  still a great deal of research work being conducted in this field.


Starch and starch products are not just known as energy-providing and taste-giving components in food, but they often also play a crucial part in the formation and/or stabilisation of the texture of countless food products, from infant formula to geriatric dietary food. In doing so, they fulfil a number of different tasks, in which they have a stabilising, water retaining, structuring and rheology determining effect. Starch products can be found in all kinds of foods for the purposes of achieving the sought-after effect.

Whether food feels good in your mouth often depends on the right choice of starch products. The Agrana Research & Innovation Center’s activities cover both the development of new starch products and their subsequent detailed, applied testing. An extensive range of equipment is available at the Agrana Research & Innovation Center's technical centre to carry out various food practice processes on a pilot plant scale.

Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals


Starch is used in creams, powders, shampoos or shower gels, etc., to give the product a more pleasant, ‘velvety’ feeling on the skin. Highly refined products are also used directly as a lubricant for latex products like gloves and condoms.


Starch derivatives have a special function in tablets, as a tablet disintegrant. Specially modified starch derivatives give tablets a high degree of stability, low friability and a stable consistency, while in a moistened condition, i.e. when being administered orally, the starches then swell rapidly, accelerating the tablet’s disintegration and thus resulting in the release of the active pharmaceutical ingredient. Other applications in the pharmaceutical sector include starches for the production of hard and soft capsules, and highly purified starch derivatives as the source material for producing blood plasma substitute.

Starch Services

Our specialised knowledge, product expertise and considerable experience form the basis for your success, together with our very well-equipped technical centre.

What we offer

  • Client-specific product development and process optimisation

  • The use of different technologies on a pilot scale of 1 kg - 2.000 kg

  • A wide variety of analysis options

  • Professional consultancy services

  • Application technology

Technical centre equipment

AGRANA Research & Innovation Center has a very well-equipped technical centre with an area of approx. 1200 m² over three floors. It comprises all the standard processes in the starch segment on a pilot scale:

  • Pilot plants for producing corn starch
  • Pilot plants for producing potato starch
  • Pilot plants for producing wheat starch
  • Spray drying plant
  • Plants for the chemical, physical and enzymatic modification of polysaccharides, in particular starch


  • Filtering

  • Drying

  • Mixing

  • Agglomerating

  • Crushing

  • Solid/liquid separation


Starch is a polysaccharide comprised of D-glucose molecules. It is the most common, naturally occurring storage carbohydrate in plants. The starch is stored in the plant in the form of granules. The size of the granules depends on the origins of the starch and ranges from 1-2µm for amaranth starch to up to 100 µm for potato starch.



Find out more about our patents.


Research fields

Learn more about our research fields Sugar, Starch, Fruit & Biotechnology