Sugar Substitute

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Free of: Soy, yeast, gluten, corn and additives.

What is Lactose?  Lactose is a disaccharide. It is a sugar composed of galactose and glucose subunits and has the molecular formula C12H22O11. Lactose makes up around 2–8% of milk (by weight). The name comes from lac (gen. lactis), the Latin word for milk, plus the suffix -ose used to name sugars. The compound is a white, water-soluble, non-hygroscopic solid with a mildly sweet taste. It is used in the food industry.

History of Lactose  The first crude isolation of lactose, by Italian physician Fabrizio Bartoletti (1576–1630), was published in 1633. In 1700, the Venetian pharmacist Lodovico Testi (1640–1707) published a booklet of testimonials to the power of milk sugar (saccharum lactis) to relieve, among other ailments, the symptoms of arthritis. In 1715, Testi’s procedure for making milk sugar was published by Antonio Vallisneri. Lactose was identified as a sugar in 1780 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele.

In 1812, Heinrich Vogel (1778–1867) recognized that glucose was a product of hydrolyzing lactose. In 1856, Louis Pasteur crystallized the other component of lactose, galactose. By 1894, Emil Fischer had established the configurations of the component sugars.

Lactose was named by the French chemist Jean Baptiste André Dumas (1800–1884) in 1843. In 1856, Louis Pasteur named galactose “lactose”. In 1860, Marcellin Berthelot renamed it “galactose”, and transferred the name “lactose” to what is now called lactose. It has a formula of C12H22O11 and the hydrate formula C12H22O11·H2O, making it an isomer of sucrose.

Uses of Lactose  Its mild flavor and easy handling properties have led to its use as a carrier and stabilizer of aromas and pharmaceutical products. Lactose is not added directly to many foods, because its solubility is less than that of other sugars commonly used in food. Infant formula is a notable exception, where the addition of lactose is necessary to match the composition of human milk.

Lactose is not fermented by most yeast during brewing, which may be used to advantage. For example, lactose may be used to sweeten stout beer; the resulting beer is usually called a milk stout or a cream stout.

Yeast belonging to the genus Kluyveromyces have a unique industrial application as they are capable of fermenting lactose for ethanol production. Surplus lactose from the whey by-product of dairy operations is a potential source of alternative energy.


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