A.F. Suter and Co. Ltd

Shellac, Waxes, Gums and Resins

Shellac – Dewaxed Flakes – Food and Pharma Grade

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Dewaxed Shellac (Ph. Eur.) – Refined Orange Shellac (USP) – Purified Shellac (JP)

European Union Approved Food Additive: E904 – Glazing Agent

Vegetarian, Kosher and Halal certificates available. REACH exemption statement available.

CAS Number: 9000-59-3
EINECS Number: 232-549-9


Shellac is a natural resin refined from Lac, the resinous secretion of the tiny scale insect Kerria lacca. Kusmi Seedlac is secreted by the Kusmi insect strain which inhabits the Kusum tree (Schleichera oleosa) in India. Bysakhi Seedlac is secreted by the Rangeeni insect strain, which resides on Ber (Zizyphus mauritiana) and Palas (Butea monosperma) trees in India. Kusmi is the lightest coloured Seedlac and so is generally considered the highest quality, followed by Bysakhi Seedlac. The resins from different insect strains have different colours and chemical compositions and therefore different properties and release characteristics. The selection of the Seedlac is of great importance for a uniform and consistent quality for controlled release (CR) applications in the Pharmaceutical & Nutritional Supplements industry.

The AFS Dewaxed Shellac grades are refined by the Solvent Extraction Process using high quality Seedlac sourced from selected and approved suppliers, which ensures a constant batch-to-batch quality. Under the Solvent Extraction Process, Shellac is extracted by dissolving the Seedlac in a solvent, usually ethanol. The solution is then filtered through a fine cloth which removes any insoluble matter and removes most of the naturally occurring wax contained in the Lac. The solution is then further filtered using activated carbon to lighten the colour of the Shellac. The ethanol is recovered by evaporation, while the remaining viscous Shellac is stretched into a thin film using a roller before being broken into flakes once cool.


AFS Dewaxed Shellac grades are supplied as flakes and contain ≤0.2% wax. Milling or micronisation is possible to produce a powder form. AFS 700 and AFS 702 are produced using a single type of Seedlac to avoid variations in quality due to different raw materials. AFS 700 Dewaxed Shellac is extracted solely from Kusmi Seedlac, while AFS 702 Dewaxed Shellac is produced using only Bysakhi Seedlac. AFS 701 Dewaxed Shellac is manufactured using a mixture of Kusmi and Bysakhi Seedlac. The type of Seedlac used heavily influences the colour of the Shellac flake, which is typically graded according to the Gardner colour scale, which ranges from 1 (almost transparent yellow) to 40 (dark brown) after being dissolved in a 20% ethanol solution.

Dewaxed Shellac

Insect Strain

Gardner Colour

AFS 700


≤ 6

AFS 701

Kusmi / Bysakhi

≤ 8

AFS 702


≤ 11

AFS 700 and AFS 702 Dewaxed Shellac flakes are food grade and so are tested according to the specification for Shellac E 904 in EC Regulation 231/2012 extended by further explanations from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health & Food Safety (DG-SANCO). A Kosher certificate is available on request.

AFS 700 is also available as a Pharmaceutical grade, meeting the specifications for Shellac in the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.). Each batch is supplied with test reports by an external laboratory, verifying the chemical and physical parameters and the microbiological status according to Ph. Eur. requirements. Test reports according to the specifications for Refined Orange Shellac according to the US Pharmacopoeia (USP) or Purified Shellac according to the Japanese Pharmacopoeia (JP) are available on request. AFS 700 and AFS 702 are supplied in 25 kg fibre drums with paper bags inside.

AFS 701 Dewaxed Shellac is a food grade Shellac and is supplied with a test report according to the specification for Shellac E 904 in EC Regulation 231/2012 and extensions by DG-SANCO. A Kosher certificate is available on request. Test reports according to the specifications for the Ph. Eur. (Dewaxed Shellac), USP (Refined Orange Shellac) or the JP (Purified Shellac) are available on request. AFS 701 is supplied in 25 kg paper bags.

AFS Dewaxed Shellac grades can be prepared for application in either alcoholic (Ethanol, Isopropanol) or aqueous solutions. Shellac is not water soluble, but stable aqueous alkaline Shellac solutions can be prepared. The preferred alkaline is Ammonium Bicarbonate, which is used in our food grade SWANLAC ASL 10 Aqueous Shellac Solution. Being a true solution, film-forming is by physical drying, preferably at temperatures around 50-60°C. For Controlled Release applications, the solution is usually formulated with plasticisers and/or other polymers i.e. HPC, HPMC, Alginates, etc.


AFS Dewaxed Shellac grades are used in the Pharmaceutical & Nutritional Supplement industry as barrier coatings for moisture sensitive cores and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) applied in the form of alcoholic solutions, as well as for glazing or surface finishing tablets. For Nutritional Supplements, aqueous Shellac solutions are used for enteric coatings or taste masking formulation, often in combination with other polymers.

Microencapsulation of particles or pellets (Vitamins, Probiotics, etc) by spray-coating or spray-drying and liquids (Omega3 oils) by co-extrusion in combination with alginates or other polymers are interesting new application areas.

Other uses are in confectionery coatings applied in alcoholic solutions and for formulations in hairsprays and mascara in the Personal Care industry.

AFS Dewaxed Shellac grades are recommended for technical applications in the printing ink and electronics industry, where a high and constant quality is also of great importance.

AFS Dewaxed Shellac grades are suitable for a wide range of uses. Please click on the following links for more information about how AFS Dewaxed Shellac grades are used in the following industries and their applications:

Food & Agriculture Industry

Confectionery & Chewing Gum Industry

Pharmaceutical & Nutritional Supplements Industry

Wood Treatment Industry

Textiles & Leather Industry

Industrial & Other

Glazing Agents & Edible Surface Coatings

Binding Agents

Varnish, Polish & Non-Edible Coatings

Technical & Other Applications