Researchers at Tufts University have developed a method for mass-producing a promising sugar substitute. We are talking about "tagatose", which is 92% sweeter than sucrose - the main component of sugar that is sold in stores. At the same time, its caloric content is several times lower, which means a reduced effect on the level of glucose and insulin in the body, and the resulting reduction in risks for diabetics. But what is even more remarkable - it has already been proven that tagatosis does not provoke caries.
The disadvantage of new sugar is the difficulty in obtaining it. The current method based on the hydrolysis of lactose to obtain galactose, for further isomerization to tagatose, which still needs to be purified and then crystallized, provides a yield of 30%. American scientists, the authors of the study, claim that they managed to reach the figure of 85%.
It is based on the same process of converting galactose into tagatose using the enzyme L-arabinose isomerase. But instead of adding the enzyme to the solution, where it becomes unstable, they hooked up the bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum. They are food safe and produce this enzyme. It is stored inside the cell walls of bacteria and is not wasted or washed out by the solution.
As a result, by heating the medium with bacteria and galactose to 50 ℃, the researchers were able to increase the efficiency of tagatose production up to 83%. In subsequent experiments, they treated bacteria with different compositions to make their cell walls less rigid and to increase the penetration of tagatose through them. The peak was 85% with a bacteria farm running for just a few hours. Scientists intend to continue research to achieve even greater efficiency - the new sugar justifies the cost.