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The Chemistry Of Sweetener

  1. Dec 18, 2005 #1
    i need to conduct a project on sweetener, any interesting experiments can be conduct on this topics??
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 19, 2005 #2


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    You could test there thermal stability. One of the reasons that some sweetners are used in certain products instead of other sweetners is the fact that they are stable to cooking temperatures. Others will decompose and won't taste sweet anymore.

    You could also look at solubility in liquids, although I doubt you would see a whole lot of difference.

    You could investigate the number of calories in the "filler" that they add to artificial sweetners as well. For example, Aspartame (sold as Equal or NutraSweet) is about 200 times sweeter than sugar, so if you wanted to get the same sweetness as a teaspoon of sugar (~5 mL) then you would only need about 25 microliters of Aspartame! That's not enough to fill one of those little packets, so to make it look like roughly the same amount, they add fillers that are not necessarily calorie free. Common fillers are maltodextrin and dextrose, I think.
  4. Dec 20, 2005 #3
    i see
    do u still have any other suggestion?
  5. Dec 20, 2005 #4
    if i conduct the experiment of thermal stability, any special apparatus need to use?
  6. Dec 21, 2005 #5


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    Well, you need some way to tell whether or not the material is still intact. This might be indicated by an obvious decomposition of the material like when you burn a piece of paper or something, but it could also be more subtle changes that might be harder to assay without some heavy duty equipment. I really don't know for sure, but it might be worth a shot to see if there are any obvious changes.

    Here's another idea: you could simulate a digestive system and see if you can find any changes to the sweetners after exposing them. For example, stomach acid is similar to roughly 3 or 4 M HCl, I think, so you could try to expose these sweetners to aqueous acid and then try to isolate them again and look for any changes. I think you'd find that sweetners like sugar and Equal would break down, but sucralose and saccharin would be relatively stable. This experiment might be difficult without a good way to reisolate your materials. I don't know what kind of equipment you have.
  7. Dec 21, 2005 #6


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    A simple bomb calorimeter experiment with a sweetner can suffice....styrofoam cup, thermometer, heating stove, burettes (10mL and 100mL) or if you prefer volumetric flasks. This way you can calculate the calorie content, but it won't be too accurate via this method.
  8. Dec 21, 2005 #7
    You could start with heating the different sweeteners in an oven at a certain temperature and note the differences before and after: do they look burnt? No need to taste then. Do they look the same as before? You might try and taste if they still taste sweet. Beware: I don't know anything about whether these organic compounds will decompose into any toxic products... :yuck: I can hardly imagine that sugars and sweeteners would become toxic after visually unnoticeable decomposition but maybe you should wait until someone confirms that nothing toxic will remain (I'm more into inorganic chemistry :wink:).
    What I would do at home: (at the university I would just go for the TG-DTA apparatus :cool:)
    1) Try to find and note the temperatures above which you can see visual changes. Are there any differences?
    2) Weigh a portion of each sweetener and heat to slightly below its visual decomposition temperature before weighing what's "left". Were there any mass losses? (For comparison, heat all of them to a relatively low temperature and see if the major mass losses occur before or after that temperature, just in case some of the sweeteners need drying prior to weighing)
    3) If NO mass loss occurs at all, I would be pretty sure that nothing has happened with the sweetener and I would dare tasting it.
    4) What about melting? Or, even better: recrystallisation from saturated solutions? :rolleyes:
  9. Dec 25, 2005 #8
    i see, i am just a high school student and this experiment will be held in the school lab.
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