Fructose, also known as D-(-)-Fructose or D-(-)-Levulose, is classified as a member of the monosaccharides. Monosaccharides are compounds containing one carbohydrate unit not glycosidically linked to another such unit, and no set of two or more glycosidically linked carbohydrate units. Monosaccharides have the general formula CnH2nOn. Fructose is soluble (in water) and acidic. Pure, dry fructose is a very sweet, white, odourless, crystalline solid and is the most water-soluble of all the sugars. From plant sources, fructose is found in honey, tree and vine fruits, flowers, berries, and most root vegetables. All forms of fructose, including fruits and juices, are commonly added to foods and drinks for palatability and taste enhancement, and for browning of some foods, such as baked goods.
There are two methods of producing pure crystalline fructose:
1. Corn Wet Milling Industry
Cornstarch is extracted from corn kernels and, in a series of processing steps, glucose is enzymatically transformed to fructose.
2. Sucrose Industry
The disaccharide bond in sucrose is enzymatically hydrolyzed to liberate glucose and fructose. In both processes, the fructose is then crystallized, dried, milled to desired particle size and packaged.
Crystalline fructose helps improve product texture, taste and stability. When combined with other sweeteners and starches, crystalline fructose boosts sweetness, cake height and texture of foods and beverages. In addition, it produces a pleasing brown surface colour and pleasant aroma when baking.
High fructose corn syrup can function as a sweetener in various types of medicines. Fructose can be found in cough suppressants, decongestant drops and liquids for both children and adults. High fructose corn syrup can also be found in decongestant rubs that are applied to the chest and under the nose.