Imagine a sugar that has only 38 percent of the calories of traditional table sugar, is safe for diabetics, and will not cause cavities.
Now add that this dream sweetener is not an artificial substitute but a real sugar found in nature and it tastes like, well, sugar.
While derived from fruits and dairy products, tagatose is not abundant and is difficult to extract from those sources.
The manufacturing process involves a conversion from more easily obtained galactose to tagatose and is highly inefficient, with yields that may reach only 30 percent.
But researchers at Tufts University have developed a process that may unlock the commercial potential of this low-calorie, low-glycemic sugar.
To determine if they could push the reaction even faster, Nair and Bober examined what might still be limiting it.
As they look ahead to exploring other applications, from the manufacture of food ingredients to plastics, there will be a lot on their plate. »