Sunday, November 14, 2021

History of high fructose corn syrup processing

Sucrose from sugar cane or sugar beets has been a part of the human diet for centuries; sucrose from fruit or honey has been a part of the human diet for millennia.

In 1744, German chemist found that the sugar isolated from sugar beets was identical to the sugar from sugar cane.

The blockades by England during Napoleon War in early 1800s, prevented imported items, including food, from entering France. Needing to feed his army and his country, Napoleon offered cash rewards for new ways to produce and preserve food domestically.

One cash reward was given for the production of sugar from native plants. Starch sugar was originally produced by treating potato starch with acid.

The resulting starch sugar was not as sweet as cane sugar, so when the blocked was lifted, France stopped producing it. Production began again in the mid-1800s, this time in the United States.

In 1811 Russian chemist named Kirchoff discovered that starch yielded a sweet substance when heated with acid. Chemist later determined that the sweet taste was caused by the hydrolytic conversion of starch into it basic unit, dextrose or crystalline glucose.

These experiments established the basis for the commercial production of starch syrups and crude starch sugar. Early developmental work was carried out in the 1950s and 1960s, with shipments of the first commercial HFCS product to the food industry occurring in the late 1960s.

HFCS was first developed by Richard O. Marshall and Earl R. Kooi in 1957 after they created the enzyme glucose isomerase. The enzyme rearranged the composition of glucose in corn syrup and made it into fructose. HFCS was developed as a liquid sweetener alternative to sucrose.

The first corn syrup in the United States was produced in Buffalo, New York, in 1866. A major breakthrough occurred in 1967 with the patenting of an enzymatic process to convert dextrose to fructose, a 6-carbon sugar that is sweeter tasting than sucrose.

In 1971, Japanese scientists discovered a method of transforming glucose molecules in corn syrup into fructose. It did not take long for food manufacturers to begin widespread use of HFCS in their products, especially in the late 1970s, when greater tariffs and quotas were imposed on imported sugar.

HFCS began to appear in frozen foods to protect against freezer burn and in vending machine products to preserve taste.

HFCS was rapidly introduced to many processed foods and soft drinks in the U.S. from about 1975 to 1985. Soft drink makers such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi still use sugar in other nations but switched to HFCS in the U.S. due to higher sugar costs. By using HFCS, it saving them 20 percent in sweetener costs.

By the 1990s, HFCS was well established as a stable, domestic sweetener in the United States, where its use is second only to sucrose.
History of high fructose corn syrup processing

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