Xylitol – A Natural Artificial Sweetener

Food, Health
Most of us are familiar with xylitol because the label on our chewing gum boasts it is sugar-free¹, using xylitol in its place. This so-called artificial sweetener is prepared industrially by the catalytic hydrogenation of xylose. Xylose itself is a sugar. It may be isolated from wood. Xylitol is not decomposed in the mouth by bacteria. It is not well-absorbed in the small intestine. Hence, it is less of a threat to the diabetic and does not add to the dentist's paycheck. In the Mouth [caption id="attachment_26073" align="alignright" width="238"] Streptococcus mutans[/caption] In a person's mouth, Streptococcus mutans bacteria consumes reactive sugar (usually sucrose or table sugar), releasing in its place, carboxylic acids. Over time, the acid environment damages teeth. Xylitol is not a reactive sugar, meaning the acids are not…
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Corncob Destructive Distillation: Hemicellulose to Xylose to Furfural

Chemistry, Manufacturing
What does corncob destructive distillation produce? A most interesting product—furfural. What is it? What is it good for? What is Furfural? Furfural is an interesting organic compound, possessing a five member ring structure with a heterocyclic atom (oxygen) and several functional groups built in. It is an ether, a diene, and an aldehyde. What is the Reaction? Corncobs1 are rich in hemicellulose. Hemicellulose can be broken down to produce the five-carbon sugar—xylose, C5H10O5. Xylose can react further to produce the heterocyclic aldehyde furfural, IUPAC2 name furan-2-carbaldehyde. Corncobs (hemicellulose) → C5H10O5 → furfural (see diagram) The steps can be combined. The resultant reaction process is termed destructive distillation. Corncob Destructive Distillation The corncobs may be dried and chopped into tiny bits the size of a grain of corn or smaller. These…
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