Imagine a sugar that has only 38 % of the calories of conventional desk sugar, is protected for diabetics, and won’t cause cavities. Now add that this dream sweetener just isn’t an artificial substitute; however, a real sugar present in nature and it tastes like, nicely, sugar. This sugar is known as tagatose. The FDA has permitted it as a food additive, and there have been no studies thus far of the issues that many sugar substitutes have—such as a metallic taste, or worse, links to cancer—in accordance with researchers and the FAO/WHO, which licensed the sugar as “generally regarded as safe.”
The manufacturing process includes a conversion from extra easily obtained galactose to tagatose and is extremely inefficient, with yields that will attain only 30 %. However, researchers at Tufts University have developed a course that will unlock the commercial potential of this low-glycemic, low-calorie, sugar. Assistant Professor Nikhil Nair and Josef Bober, in a recent publication in Nature Communications, each from the School of Engineering, got here up with an innovative method to produce the sugar utilizing bacteria as tiny bioreactors that encapsulate the enzymes and reactants.
Utilizing this method, they achieved yields as much as 85 %. Though there are numerous steps from the lab to commercial production, yields this excessive may result in massive-scale manufacturing and getting tagatose on each supermarket shelf.
The enzyme that makes tagatose from galactose known as L-arabinose isomerase (LAI). Nonetheless, galactose is just not the main goal for the enzyme, so the rates and yields of the response with galactose are lower than optimal.
As they look ahead to exploring different purposes, from the manufacture of food ingredients to plastics, there might be quite a bit on their plate.