How Are Starch-Based Sugars Produced?

Starches are long chains or branched carbohydrates that are isolated from agricultural raw materials - primarily wheat, maize or potatoes - by applying mechanical processes, such as grinding, followed by mechanical separation of the starch from the other components, such as proteins and fibers.

The result is a milky liquid known as starch slurry, which is a mixture of water and starch granules.

To produce starch-based sugars, enzymes are added to this mixture which help break down the long chains of glucose molecules of the starch into short a process called hydrolysis.

Starch producers can alter the process of breaking down starches at different stages, producing a variety of ingredients with varying sweetness levels, to cater for different customer needs. The process can be left to break down the chains all the way to the individual glucose molecules (pure glucose, or dextrose), or it can be stopped earlier.

They can also enzymatically convert glucose molecules into fructose, thus producing blends of glucose and fructose (similar to sucrose or table to sugar which are made from sugar beets). These are known as glucose-fructose syrups or fructose-glucose syrups.

All starch derivatives come from starch naturally present in the agricultural raw materials from which it has been extracted. As such, all starch products are unquestionably plant-based ingredients derived from nature itself.

All starch-based sugars are carbohydrates and have therefore the same caloric value of 4kcal/g (17kJ/g).

To learn more about the production of starch-based sugars and many of the other ingredients of the Starch industry, take a look at our explanatory video.

For more information on starch-based sugars, visit the dedicated section.

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