The production of fructose from carbohydrate feedstocks
A review of the general chromatographic theory and of continuous chromatographic techniques has been carried out. Three methods of inversion of sucrose to glucose and fructose in beet molasses were explored. These methods were the inversion of sucrose using the enzyme invertase, by the use of hydrochloric acid and the use of the resin Amberlite IR118 in the H+ form. The preferred method on economic and purity considerations was by the use of the enzyme invertase. The continuous chromatographic separation of inverted beet molasses resulting in a fructose rich product and a product containing glucose and other non-sugars was carried out using a semi-continuous counter-current chromatographic refiner (SCCR6), consisting of ten 10.8cm x 75cm long stainless steel columns packed with a calcium charged 8% cross-linked polystyrene resin Zerolit SRC 14. Based on the literature this is the first time such a continuous separation has been attempted. It was found that the cations present in beet molasses displaced the calcium ions from the resin resulting in poor separation of the glucose and fructose. Three methods of maintaining the calcium form of the resin during the continuous operation of the equipment were established. Passing a solution of calcium nitrate through the purge column for half a switch period was found to be most effective as there was no contamination of the main fructose rich product and the product concentrations were increased by 50%. When a 53% total solids (53 Brix) molasses feedstock was used, the throughput was 34.13kg sugar solids per m3 of resin per hour. Product purities of 97% fructose in fructose rich (FRP) and 96% glucose in the glucose rich (GRP) products were obtained with product concentrations of 10.93 %w/w for the FRP and 10.07 %w/w for the GRP. The effects of flowrates, temperature and background sugar concentration on the distribution coefficients of fructose, glucose, betaine and an ionic component of beet molasses were evaluated and general relationships derived. The computer simulation of inverted beet molasses separations on an SCCR system has been carried out successfully.