Crystallization of Erythritol

The reduction of high-calorie sugar, i.e. sucrose, in food is becoming increasingly important in our modern society. The food industry produces more and more calorie-reduced products with the same sweetening power like sucrose products by using sugar substitutes. But these sugar substitutes have completely different physical properties than the well-known sucrose and cannot be replaced one-to-one with it, as texture, color, volume, taste and minimum shelf life change. Erythritol is one of the used sugar substitutes with many advantages. The polyol is nearly as sweet as sucrose, has almost no calories, does not change blood sugar or insulin levels, has a high digestive tolerance and does not promote caries. However, compared to sucrose and other sugar alcohols, it has a very strong tendency to crystallize.  In this project, the crystallization behavior of erythritol is investigated in more detail on a physicochemical level. We want to investigate how the crystallization can be inhibited or influenced by the addition of additives, such as other sugar alcohols or hydrocolloids, and study these mechanisms on a molecular level. The better understanding of these processes will help to improve the product development for calorie-reduced food and adjust the properties to the customer needs. For our research we use different methods such as light microscopy, DSC, ITC, X-ray structure analysis and rheology.

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