IIT Guwahati researchers have developed an ultrasound-assisted fermentation method to produce a safe sugar substitute called ‘Xylitol’ from sugarcane bagasse, the residue left after crushing of sugar cane.
This method overcomes the operational limitations of chemical methods of synthesis and the time delays associated with conventional fermentation.
With increasing awareness of the adverse effects of white sugar (sucrose), not only for patients with diabetes but also for general health, there has been a rise in the consumption of safe alternative sweeteners.
Xylitol, a sugar alcohol derived from natural products, has potential antidiabetic and anti-obesogenic effects, is a mild prebiotic and protects teeth against caries.
The use of ultrasound during the fermentation process not only reduced the time of fermentation to 15 hours (against almost 48 hours in conventional processes), but also increased the yield of the product by almost 20%.
The researchers used only 1.5 hours of ultrasonication during the fermentation, which means that not much ultrasound power was consumed in the process. Thus, xylitol production from sugarcane bagasse using ultrasonic fermentation is a potential opportunity for forward integration of sugarcane industries in India.