Sunday, August 9, 2009

HFCS: The enzymatic process

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a sugar substitute found in most soft drinks, processed foods, store-bought sauces, salad dressings, canned foods, breads, cereals, cookies, cakes, pies, and almost all condiments. From a manufacturer's perspective, using HFCS is, for a variety of reasons, a means to cut costs. In comparison with sugar and other sweeteners, HFCS is cheaper to use and enhances the shelf life of products.

High-fructose corn syrup is produced by using an enzyme, glucose isomerase, to convert some amount of the glucose in corn syrup into fructose. Some sources mention only the developments that took place in the U.S. that led to the creation of HFCS, but the Japanese were the first to convert glucose to fructose.

There are three basic types of HFCS that have varying ratios of fructose to glucose:

  • HFCS-42 is a compound consisting of 42 percent fructose and 53 percent glucose
  • HFCS-55 is a compound consisting of 55 percent fructose and 41 percent glucose
  • HFCS-90 is a compound consisting of 90 percent fructose and 5 percent glucose

The chemical process is explained in greater detail under the following urls:

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