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Title:
Process for manufacturing a polysaccharide sweetener compound
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method of forming a compound such as a polysaccharide sweetener compound is obtained via a process of cycloelimination of a macromolecule, for example, a glycoside, chemoselective promiscuous ligation of a first component constituent such as a constituent disaccharide fraction derived from the macromolecule with a second component such as a base monosaccharide, such as fructose, and cycloaddition of the base monosaccharide with a the constituent disaccharide fraction. Subsequent addition of fortifiers such as vitamins and minerals may be accomplished via baric processing to effect cross-linking or cross-bonding with the polysaccharide sweetener compound. A process for manufacturing polysaccharide sweetener compounds is provided and permits baric, electromagnetic, and thermal processing, at low temperatures, to effect the cycloelimination, chemoselective promiscuous ligation, and cycloaddition reactions. A method for selecting base and adjunct components for the manufacture of a polysaccharide sweetener compound having an equivalent functionality as a natural sweetener and/or derivative thereof as required for a specific food processing application is presented.


Inventors:
Robbins, Gregory C. (Baton Rouge, LA, US)
Application Number:
11/520483
Publication Date:
04/05/2007
Filing Date:
09/13/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A23L1/236
View Patent Images:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MALLOY & MALLOY, P.A.;Historic Coral Way (2800 S.W. Third Avenue, Miami, FL, 33129, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A Method of forming a Polysaccharide Sweeter Compound comprising: a) heating a naturally occurring polysaccharide to a predetermined loosening temperature sufficient to loosen at least some molecular bonds thereof; b) subjecting, at a predetermined cleaving temperature, said naturally occurring polysaccharide to a first stage pressure increase for a predetermined period of time sufficient to fraction said naturally occurring polysaccharide into at least one desired saccharide constituent and at least one first stage bi-product constituent; c) reducing a pressure affecting said saccharide component constituent; d) introducing a predetermined amount of a natural fruit sugar component; e) selectively intermingling said natural fruit sugar component and said saccharide constituent with one another by subjecting said natural fruit sugar component and said saccharide constituent to a decreased intermingling pressure, and heating said natural fruit sugar component and said saccharide constituent at a predetermined intermingling temperature that does not result in molecular decomposition; f) subjecting said intermingled natural fruit sugar component and saccharide constituent to a second stage pressure increase over a predetermined period of time at a predetermined combining temperature so as to result in cycloaddition between said natural fruit sugar component and said intermingled saccharide constituent to form the polysaccharide sweetener compound and release a second stage bi-product constituent; and g) reducing a pressure.

2. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said saccharide constituent comprises a monosaccharide.

3. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said saccharide constituent comprises a disaccharide.

4. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said natural fruit sugar component comprises fructose.

5. A method as recited in claim 1 further comprising subjecting said saccharide constituent and said natural fruit sugar component to a magnetic field so as to aid in said selective intermingling and selectively align said saccharaide constituent and said natural fruit sugar with one another.

6. A method as recited in claim 5 wherein said magnetic field is electromagnetic.

7. A method as recited in claim 6 wherein said electromagnetic field is variable.

8. A method as recited in claim 1 further comprising applying an electromagnetic field.

9. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said first stage pressure increase fractions said naturally occurring polysaccharide at a molecular level.

10. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein selectively intermingling said natural fruit sugar component and said saccharide constituent with one another further comprises selectively intermingling and selectively aligning said natural fruit sugar component and said saccharide constituent with one another.

11. A method as recited in claim 10 wherein selectively intermingling and aligning said natural fruit sugar component and said saccharide constituent with one another further comprises selectively intermingling and aligning said natural fruit sugar component and said saccharide constituent with one another so as to initiate a ligation reaction therebetween.

12. A method as recited in claim 11 wherein said ligation is a high pressure legation structured to orient said natural fruit sugar component and said saccharide constituent relative to one another in preparation for subsequent cycloaddition.

13. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said cleaving temperature comprises heating until an energy exchange without decomposition of said naturally occurring polysaccharide occurs.

14. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said cleaving temperature is in a range of 80 F to 100 F degrees.

15. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said combining temperature is in a range of 80 F to 100 F degrees.

16. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said first stage pressure increase is in a range of 60 bar to 160 bar.

17. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said first stage pressure increase is achieved in a range of 0.5 sec to 2 sec.

18. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said second stage pressure increase is achieved in a range of 0.5 sec to 2 sec.

19. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said first and said second stage pressure increases are achieved in a range of 0.5 sec to 15 sec.

20. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said first stage pressure increase is in a range of 4 bar to 2000 bar.

21. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said second stage pressure increase is in a range of 4 bar to 2000 bar.

22. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said naturally occurring polysaccharide comprises a mogroside.

23. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein separation of said first stage bi-product constituent is sufficient to prevent re-formation of said naturally occurring polysaccharide upon a decrease in said pressure.

24. A method as recited in claim 1 further comprising removal of said first stage bi-product constituent at least until said second stage bi-product constituent is formed.

25. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said first stage bi-product constituent and said second stage bi-product constituent combine with one another.

26. A method as recited in claim 25 further comprising measuring a quantity of said combined first and second stage bi-product constituents to determine a quantity of the polysaccharide sweetener compound produced.

27. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said first stage bi-product constituent comprises hydrogen and oxygen.

28. A method as recited in claim 27 wherein said second stage bi-product constituent comprises hydrogen.

29. A method as recited in claim 28 wherein said first stage bi-product constituent and said second stage bi-product constituent combine to form water.

30. A method as recited in claim 29 further comprising measuring a quantity of said water to determine a quantity of the polysaccharide sweetener compound produced.

31. A method as recited in claim 1 further comprising fractioning said natural fruit sugar component into natural fruit sugar constituents prior to introduction of at least some of said natural fruit sugar constituents as said natural fruit sugar component for intermingling with said saccharide constituents.

32. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said natural fruit sugar component comprises natural fruit sugar constituents fractioned from a component base.

33. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said predetermined period of time of said second stage pressure increase comprises until the cessation of formation of second stage bi-product constituents.

34. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein variation of said first stage pressure dictates a molecular bond at which said naturally occurring polysaccharide compound is fractioned.

35. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein variation of said first stage pressure and a time required to achieve said first stage pressure dictates a molecular bond at which said naturally occurring polysaccharide compound is fractioned.

36. A Method of forming a compound comprising: a) subjecting a first component to a predetermined loosening temperature sufficient to loosen at least some molecular bonds of said first component; b) subjecting, at a predetermined cleaving temperature, said first component to a first stage pressure increase for a predetermined period of time sufficient to fraction said first component into at least one desired first component constituent and at least one first stage bi-product constituent; c) reducing a pressure affecting said first component constituent; d) introducing a predetermined amount of a second component; e) selectively intermingling said second component and said first component constituent with one another by subjecting said second component and said first component constituent to a decreased intermingling pressure, and heating said second component and said first component constituent at a predetermined intermingling temperature that does not result in molecular decomposition; f) subjecting said intermingled second component and first component constituent to a second stage pressure increase over a predetermined period of time at a predetermined combining temperature so as to result in cycloaddition between said second component and said intermingled first component constituent to form the compound and release a second stage bi-product constituent; and g) reducing a pressure.

37. A method as recited in claim 36 further comprising subjecting said first component constituent and said second component to a magnetic field so as to aid in said selective intermingling and selectively align said first component constituent and said second component with one another.

38. A method as recited in claim 37 wherein said magnetic field is electromagnetic.

39. A method as recited in claim 38 wherein said electromagnetic field is variable.

40. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said first stage pressure increase fractions said first component at a molecular level.

41. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein selectively intermingling said second component and said first component constituent with one another further comprises selectively intermingling and selectively aligning said second component and said first component constituent with one another.

42. A method as recited in claim 41 wherein selectively intermingling and aligning said second component and said first component constituent with one another further comprises selectively intermingling and aligning said second component and said first component constituent with one another so as to initiate a ligation reaction therebetween.

43. A method as recited in claim 42 wherein said ligation is a high pressure ligation structured to orient said second component and said first component constituent relative to one another in preparation for subsequent cycloaddition.

44. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein separation of said first stage bi-product constituent is sufficient to prevent re-formation of said first component upon a decrease in said pressure.

45. A method as recited in claim 36 further comprising removal of said first stage bi-product constituent at least until said second stage bi-product constituent is formed.

46. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said first stage bi-product constituent and said second stage bi-product constituent combine with one another.

47. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said first stage bi-product constituents and said second stage bi-product constituents combine to form water.

48. A method as recited in claim 36 further comprising measuring a quantity of said water to determine a quantity of the compound produced.

49. A method as recited in claim 36 further comprising fractioning said second component into second component constituents prior to introduction of at least some of said second component constituents as said second component for intermingling with said first component constituents.

50. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said second component comprises component constituents fractioned from a second component base.

51. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said first stage pressure is a substantially high pressure.

52. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said second stage pressure is a substantially high pressure.

53. A method as recited in claim 52 wherein said first and said second stage pressures are achieved in less than 2 seconds.

54. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said first component is a macromolecule.

55. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein variation of said first stage pressure dictates a molecular bond at which said first compound is fractioned.

56. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein variation of said first stage pressure and a time required to achieve said first stage pressure dictates a molecular bond at which said first compound is fractioned.

57. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said cleaving temperature comprises heating until an energy exchange without decomposition of said first compound occurs.

58. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said cleaving temperature is in a range of 80 F to 100 F degrees.

59. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said combining temperature is in a range of 80 F to 100 F degrees.

60. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said first stage pressure increase is in a range of 60 bar to 160 bar.

61. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said first stage pressure increase is achieved in a range of 0.5 sec to 2 sec.

62. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said second stage pressure increase is achieved in a range of 0.5 sec to 2 sec.

63. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said first and said second stage pressure increases are achieved in a range of 0.5 sec to 15 sec.

64. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said first stage pressure increase is in a range of 4 bar to 2000 bar.

65. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said second stage pressure increase is in a range of 4 bar to 2000 bar.

66. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said predetermined period of time of said second stage pressure increase comprises until the cessation of formation of second stage bi-product constituents.

Description:

CLAIM OF PRIORITY

The present application is based on and a claim to priority is made under 35 U.S.C. Section 119(e) to provisional patent application currently pending in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office having Ser. No. 60/716,803 and a filing date of Sep. 13, 2005.

The present application incorporates by reference in its entirety Applicant's currently pending U.S. patent application having Ser. No. 11/473,526 and a filing date of Jun. 23, 2006, and the present application also incorporates by reference in their entirety both of Applicant's U.S. patent applications contemporaneously filed on Sep. 13, 2006 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and having Serial Nos. to be determined.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is directed to a method of forming novel a compound, such as a polysaccharide sweetener compound, including for example a 10-O-β-D-fructofuranosyl, 1,6-β-D-mogropyranosyl, which is non-bulking, nutritive, natural, low-calorie, low-glycemic, and thermogenic so as to be fully functional for personal consumption as well as for use in the food and beverage industry. This novel polysaccharide compound may comprise a fully crystallized powder form, or any of a plurality of BRIX (e.g., 66°-70° BRIX), thus allowing the compound to be utilized in liquid or syrup form, and it, as well as any other compound formed utilizing the present method comprises more than a mere blending of constituents compounds, but an actual bonding thereof in an optimally functional manner.

2. Description of the Related Art

Approximately 150 million persons in the United States use sugar-free low-calorie products, with their use having tripled over the last 20 years. It has been estimated that the consumption of both nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners will increase about 3% per year over the next few years, with the market value of food additives inclusive of artificial sweeteners accounting for over $1.5 billion in the United States. All of the currently approved “high-intensity” sweeteners in the United States are synthetic substances. In addition, current pathos regarding the ubiquitous nature of sucrose and consumption by the populace (especially by children) is changing from relative apathy to a growing frenzy around the kitchen table. This growing move from ambivalence to activism dictates a new paradigm in sugar/sugar-option inclusion in and on food and in marketing.

To date, there are about 80 sweet compounds exclusive of monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polyols obtained from natural sources, with all of these from vascular plants. These plant-derived compounds mainly belong to three major structural classes, namely, the terpenoids, flavonoids, and proteins. At present, none of these highly sweet compounds (as individual, stand-alone sweeteners) have submitted self-affirmed GRAS status for use as a “high-intensity” sweetener in the United States, although plant-derived compounds such as glycyrrhizin, neohesperidin dihydrochalcone, stevioside, and thaumatin are used commercially in some other countries for sweetening purposes. However, in the United States there is an increasing use of plant extractives known to contain highly sweet terpenoids. Products comprising such extractives often use a “natural fruit flavors” declaration in the ingredient panel to comply with the 21CFR label declaration. An ammoniated derivative of the oleanane-type triterpene glycoside, glycyrrhizin, has been available for several years on the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) list of approved natural flavors. More recently, purified extracts of Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni (Compositae) containing the sweet ent-kaurane-type diterpene glycosides stevioside and rebaudioside A have become popular as “dietary supplements.” Steviosides cannot be declared as a food or food ingredient under 21CFR, but rather as a supplement in a supplement facts panel. Soft drinks incorporating extracts of Siraitia grosvenorii ingle) Lu & Zhang (Cucurbitaceae) fruits, also known as “Lo Han Kuo,” containing sweet cucurbitane-type triterpene glycosides, such as mogroside V, are now on the market.

Sweetness is one of only four taste sensations we experience, and as such, sweeteners have been used in food and drink since man first began to prepare foods for consumption. For centuries, natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup, as well as those extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets have been utilized to enhance the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. Each of these natural sweeteners consist primarily of sucrose, a disaccharide comprised of the simple sugars, fructose and glucose. Glucose is, of course, an essential source of fuel for the body, so much so that the body produces glucose as part of our normal metabolic processes. In addition to providing the sweet taste we desire in many food and beverage products, natural sugars act as preservatives, such as in jams and jellies, they aid in the fermentation of breads, pickles, and alcoholic beverages, and they provide body and texture to baked goods and ice creams. Furthermore, these natural sugars are very stable compounds, even at significantly elevated temperatures, which make them highly desirable ingredients for the food industry. As a result, a wide variety of concentrated sources of natural sugars are commonly employed in the food industry, such as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, as well as a variety of sugar alcohols.

One drawback of these natural sweeteners is that they are typically high in caloric content, which is undesirable in today's health and weight conscious society, where counting calories has grown from a casual pass time to an obsession. Additionally, it has long been known that excess glucose, while essential in proper amounts for maintenance of a healthy body, is stored in the body as glycogens, which may subsequently converted into unwanted fat. More importantly, elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream can cause a hyperglycemic reaction in any of the numerous individuals afflicted with diabetes. The elevation in glucose levels in the bloodstream is not only a function of the amount of natural sweeteners, or other carbohydrates a person consumes, it is also a function of the rate at which these compounds are metabolized by the body. Fructose is approximately one and one half times sweeter than glucose, however, alone it does not possess other properties required to be fully functional as an alterative to natural table sugar, or sucrose.

One attempt to overcome the shortcomings of natural table sugar, i.e., reduction or elimination of the glucose component, includes blending a natural fruit sugar such as, by way of example, fructose, with a polysaccharide as a substitute for the glucose component of natural table sugar. Regardless of how vigorous the blending process, the resultant composition remains a non-homogenous blend which presents significant problems in handling and application, due to settling and layering of the components over time, as well as uneven distribution of the natural monosaccharide with the polysaccharide component. More specifically, it is not possible through blending to achieve and maintain a one to one distribution of each monosaccharide molecule and a corresponding one of the monosaccharide constituents of the polysaccharide, as there is no chemical bonding between the components.

Further attempts to address the foregoing shortcomings of natural sweeteners have led to the development of a number of chemical sweeteners, many in just the last century. Among the first of these chemical sweeteners to enjoy widespread commercial usage were sodium salts of cyclohexanesulfamic acid, more commonly known as cyclamates. Cyclamates are generally about 40 to 60 times as sweet as natural sweeteners, however, they contain essentially no calories or nutritional value. Although cyclamates have long since been banned in the United States as a potential cancer causing agent, they are still utilized elsewhere around the world, including Canada.

Saccharin is another chemical sweetener being about 300 times as sweet as sucrose, or natural sugar. As with cyclamates, saccharin contributes essentially no calories and no nutritional value to the food or beverage products in which they are utilized. Although studies have linked saccharin to bladder cancer in rats, public opposition led to a moratorium on a ban to its use in the United States, however, products containing saccharin must carry a warning label as a potential health hazard. Another non-nutritional chemical sweetener in use today is acesulfame K which is approximately 200 times as sweet as sucrose and is chemically similar to saccharin.

One further chemical sweetener on the market today is aspartame which, like acesulfame K, is about 200 times as sweet as sugar. Although aspartame contains the same caloric content of proteins, being formed of amino acids, due to the small volume required relative to natural sweeteners, the contribution to the overall caloric intake is minimal. One of the amino acids from which aspartame is formed, phenylalanine, may be harmful to phenylketonuric children, and thus, products containing aspartame must carry warning labels to that effect.

As these chemical sweeteners range from about forty to several hundred times sweeter than sucrose, or other natural sweeteners, only a small relative amount is required to achieve the same level of sweetening for a particular food or beverage product. This, of course, presents a significant problem in recipes that utilize a natural sweetener simply due to the reduced volume and relative ratio of ingredients to be used. In addition, chemical sweeteners do not react the same as natural sweeteners when cooking, baking, or otherwise processing a food product, regardless of the fact that some may be heat stable at somewhat elevated temperatures. As one example, due to the reduced volume of the sweetener added, many products baked with chemical sweeteners are typically denser and provide a smaller yield. Also, natural sweeteners act as a preservative, as noted above, however, chemical sweeteners do not impart preservative properties resulting in either a shorter shelf life of the products, or the addition of further, potentially harmful, chemical preservatives. Yet another negative aspect of chemical sweeteners is that foods baked with natural sweeteners have a natural brown coloration due to caramelization of the natural sweetener, however, this appealing aesthetic is lacking in goods baked with chemical sweeteners. Of course, the most common complaint about all chemical sweeteners known to date is that they simply do not taste the same, i.e., do not taste as good, as natural sweeteners.

Thus, it would be beneficial to provide a sweetener compound providing the benefits of a natural sweetener while minimizing or eliminating the undesirable effects. For example, it would be beneficial to provide a sweetener compound which is derived from naturally occurring components, such as a simple natural sugar and a polysaccharide, to produce a polysaccharide which is functionally similar to sucrose, yet that is low-caloric and low-glycemic. In addition, any such polysaccharide sweetener compound should possess equivalent functional properties as their wholly natural counterparts such that direct substitution into any of a plurality of known food processing operations may be effected. It would also be helpful to provide such a polysaccharide sweetener compound that is low-glycemic and metabolizes slowly upon ingestion. A further benefit may be realized by providing a polysaccharide sweetener compound containing any of number of vitamins, minerals, and/or other fortifiers, which may be delivered to the digestive system without negatively impacting the sweetness index of the overall compound. A process for manufacturing such a polysaccharide sweetener compound utilizing known chemical processing equipment would be preferable. It would also be beneficial to provide a method of selecting a natural sugar and an adjunct component from which to manufacture a polysaccharide sweetener compound that emulates the functionality of one or more natural sweeteners utilized in a food processing operation, based upon user specific sweetener applications.

In addition to the above, it would also be beneficial to be able to produce a compound which is genuinely bonded at the molecular or macromolecular level, and which can effectively utilize desired constituent fractions of the components utilized in its formation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed towards the formation of a compound, and in a preferred embodiment, a polysaccharide sweetener compound, which is formed the chemoselective bonding of component constituents. As will be described in greater detail subsequently with regard to one example of a polysaccharide sweetener compound, the present method comprises and initial step of preparing a first component for fractioning by heating that first component until at least some of the molecular bonds of the first component begin to loosen. Once prepared, a first stage pressure increase is applied to the first compound, while the first compound is maintained at a cleaving temperature, which may be in the range of 80 F-100 F or any other temperature which at the corresponding first stage pressure increase will not result in the decomposition of the first compound, while still resulting in energy exchange sufficient to achieve fractioning as a result of the high pressure. Specifically, the first stage pressure increase is preferably achieved very quickly in as little as 0.2-2 sec, although slower rates can also be effective depending upon the properties of the material to be fractioned. This sudden, rapid pressure increase at the various controlled parameters results in a dictated fractioning of the first compound at certain molecular bonds that have been made optimal for fractioning as a result of the pressure, temperature and time/rate parameters being set, resulting in the formation of first component constituents.

Once the first component constituents are formed, the pressure can then be lowered, such as to at or near a vacuum, and thereafter a second component is introduced. This second component may have undergone a similar fractioning in anticipation of addition or may be added in its normal state, as in the example to be described subsequently. Once introduced, however, the first component constituents and the second component are heated at a certain reduced pressure, which may be the same pressure to which the first component constituents were reduced after fractioning, so as to result in chemoselective permiscous ligation or an aligned intermingling that does not result in a full bonding but does result in some reaction therebetween to properly orient the components for the next phase. Furthermore, if desired, at this phase, or throughout the process, a magnetic field, such as an electromagnetic field can be applied to aid with this selective intermingling aligning and ligation.

When the first component constituents and the second component are properly positioned, a second stage pressure increase, possibly in the range of 60-160 bar, although a much greater range of between 4-2000 bar can also be utilized depending upon the characteristics of the components, is applied, also preferably at a predetermined temperature and at a predetermined, preferably very rapid rate of increase. This results in the cycloaddition or bonding of the first component constituent and a second component constituent, as well as the formation of a second stage bi-product. Preferably this pressure is applied until all of the desired compound is formed, and a beneficial manner in which to determine when this has been achieved is by monitoring the formation of the second stage bi-product. For example, in the embodiment to be described, the second stage bi-product combines with the first stage bi-product, which may have been removed for re-introduction during the second stage or may have remained in the system if the risk of re-bonding to re-form the first component is minimal, to form water which is evacuated from the system. When water formation ceases, the reaction and formation of the compound has likely also ceased.

Turning to one preferred embodiment, a polysaccharide sweetener compound is obtained via a process of cracking a polysaccharide, for example, a glycoside, into constituent disaccharide fractions under elevated pressures in a processing vessel, known as retrocycloaddition or cycloelimination. In the process of cracking the polysaccharide, hydrogen and oxygen are released from the polysaccharide as well. Next, a base component which may comprise a naturally occurring fruit sugar, such as, by way of one example, fructose, is introduced into the processing vessel with the constituent disaccharide fractions derived from the polysaccharide, and the components are heated at reduced pressure to induce chemoselective promiscuous ligation of the constituent disaccharide fractions with the base monosaccharide molecules. Finally, a rapid and substantial high pressure is introduced into the processing vessel resulting in cycloaddition of the base monosaccharide with a constituent disaccharide fraction derived from the polysaccharide. The cycloaddition process results in the release of one hydrogen molecule from the base component, which joins the hydrogen and oxygen released from the polysaccharide to from a water byproduct. This novel baric-thermal process permits the formation of unique polysaccharides without the need for metallic or other catalytic materials, or enzymes to initiate the reaction mechanisms, the baric-thermal process acts as a catalyst for these reactions. In at least one embodiment, the base and/or adjunct components are exposed to a magnetic field, such as may be generated via one or more electromagnets proximate a reaction vessel, sufficient to polarize the components along an X-Y axis, thereby facilitating the baric and/or thermal processing of said components.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the foregoing baric-electromagnetic-thermal process is utilized to produce the novel polysaccharide sweetener compound, 10-O-β-D-fructofuranosyl, 1,6-β-D-mogropyranosyl. In this embodiment, fructose is selected as the naturally occurring sugar, or base component, and the glycoside comprises mogroside IV and/or mogroside V. Subsequent addition of fortifiers such as vitamins and minerals may be accomplished via baric-electromagnetic-thermal processing to effect cross-linking or cross-bonding with the polysaccharide, or otherwise entraining one or more component within the structure of the novel polysaccharide itself.

The process for manufacturing such novel polysaccharide sweetener compounds allows the various baric and thermal processing steps outlined above to be performed, at relatively low temperatures. In at least one embodiment, the process further includes a first stage processing vessel into which base and adjunct components, as well as any fortifiers which may be desired, are initially charged and separated via vacuum induction in the vessel, and a plurality of screens of varied mesh sizes to effect the separation prior to charging a second stage processing vessel with each component, as needed. As noted, at least one embodiment of the process comprises one or more electromagnets proximate a reaction vessel and structured to generate a magnetic filed therein.

A method for selecting base and adjunct components for the manufacture of a polysaccharide sweetener compound having an equivalent functionality as a natural sweetener and/or derivative thereof as required for a specific food processing application is also presented.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more clear when the drawings as well as the detailed description are taken into consideration.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a fuller understanding of the nature of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 a schematic flow diagram of a process for manufacturing a novel polysaccharide sweetener compound in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2A and 2B are structural formulae illustrative of a prior art sucrose molecule.

FIG. 3 is a structural formula illustrative of a 10-O-β-D-fructofuranosyl, 1,6-β-D-mogropyranosyl polysaccharide molecule in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 4 and 4A are structural formulae illustrative of a mogroside V macromolecule prior to processing in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 5 and 5A are structural formulae illustrative of the mogroside V macromolecule after elimination of glucose side chains in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a structural formula of the mogroside V macromolecule illustrative of the reduction process in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 7 and 7A are structural formulae illustrative of the mogroside V macromolecule after reduction in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 8 is illustrative of structural formulae of constituent components of the 10-O-β-D-fructofuranosyl, 1,6-β-D-mogropyranosyl polysaccharide molecule of FIG. 3 prior to cycloaddition.

FIG. 9 is illustrative of structural formulae illustrative of a reaction mechanism for production of the 10-O-β-D-fructofuranosyl, 1,6-β-D-mogropyranosyl polysaccharide molecule of FIG. 3 in accordance with the present invention.

Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is directed to a novel method of forming a compound, which in one preferred embodiment comprises a polysaccharide composition derived from naturally occurring components which is functionally similar to sucrose, as illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, or other natural sugar compounds and derivatives, without the negative aspects of such compounds. Specifically, the novel polysaccharide sweetener compound of the present invention is low in caloric content, and as they do not comprise glucose, they have a low-glycemic index and load so as to inhibit rapid elevation in blood sugar levels, while retaining the functionality and nutritive value of natural sweeteners in common use today. Further, as the novel polysaccharide sweetener compounds of the present invention are derived from naturally occurring components, they do not present the known and uncertain health risks associated with the various chemical sweeteners also currently in use today. In one preferred embodiment, the polysaccharide sweetener compound of the present invention comprises 10-O-β-D-fructofuranosyl, 1,6-β-D-mogropyranosyl, as illustrated in FIG. 3.

To begin, the polysaccharide sweetener compounds of the present invention comprise at least one naturally occurring monosaccharide such as, by way of example, fructose, or another naturally occurring fruit sugar, in combination with a fraction of a preselected macromolecule including, but not limited to, naturally occurring glycosides such as curcurbitane, labdane, ent-kaurene, cycloartane, oleanane, secodammarane, and dammarane. In at least one embodiment, the macromolecule may comprise mogroside IV or mogroside V, and in at least one illustrative embodiment, the macromolecule comprises mogroside V, as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 4A. It is noteworthy that the novel polysaccharide sweetener compounds of the present invention are not merely blends of the foregoing components, rather, they are unique compounds formed by chemoselective ligation and promiscuous bonding between a naturally occurring monosaccharide and a constituent disaccharide fraction from which a naturally occurring polysaccharide is comprised, as will be discussed more fully below.

As such, the novel polysaccharide sweetener compounds of the present invention provide a homogeneous composition having the desired sweetening index, by virtue of the natural fruit sugar, without the undesirable effects of glucose by virtue of utilizing the constituent disaccharide fractions of a naturally occurring polysaccharide to form a new and novel polysaccharide molecule from naturally occurring components. More in particular, as the invention is a new, novel and homogenous compound, it does not comprise the handling and processing problems associated with mere blends of a monosaccharide and a disaccharide, as described above. Further, the particular combination of a natural fruit sugar and a constituent disaccharide fraction derived from a polysaccharide may be preselected to produce a novel polysaccharide sweetener compound that is functionally equivalent to any combination of natural sweeteners and/or derivatives thereof as may be required for personal consumption and/or commercial food processing operations. Further, the polysaccharide sweetener compound of the present invention is digested longer and slower than sucrose or other saccharides without the expected laxative effect of polyols or other saccharide compounds, but is fully digested in the small intestine.

Several plant-derived compounds of the terpenoid and phenolic types may have commercial use as sweeteners, ligated sugars and/or sugar-options in the food and beverage industry. The present invention is directed toward the practical application of terpenoid and phenolic compounds through novel techniques of elimination, reduction or fractionation, of the aforementioned glycosides, i.e., mogroside IV and/or mogroside V, into fractions, e.g., constituent disaccharide fractions, and the conjugation of those fractions via promiscuous ligation to a base carbohydrate, such as a naturally occurring sugar, thereby forming a novel polysaccharide sweetener compound from the bound constituents. Glycosides, as used in the present invention, are defined as any organic compound that yield a sugar and one or more non-sugar substances on hydrolysis. In the case of some plant-derived compounds, these are further expressed as either hydrolysable or non-hydrolysable.

The novel polysaccharide compound of the present invention comprises a fxx, where f=fraction and xx=the size or number of glycoside fractions, for example, mogroside fractions, in their resulting pentose or hexose configurations of glycoside/mogroside linked to a hexose and/or pentose which, in one preferred embodiment, comprises fructose. The hexose/pentose constituent of the molecule, once again, for example, fructose, provides initial sensory sweetness by binding to the sugar receptors on the tongue and the fxx provides the intensity of sensory sweetness, while the nature of the polysaccharide linkage or the nature of the modification prevents the glycoside from being metabolized in the same manner as sucrose. The intensity or sweetness of the resulting polysaccharide is determined by fxx, as the length of the prime fraction determines how deep within the sweet receptors the sugar penetrates and, thus, lengthens the amount of time the receptors are stimulated or that more points of reception and/or interaction are stimulated. It should be noted that in the mogroside IV and V fractions, the fxx has at least three (3) known points of potential ligand and interaction with host carbohydrates or other polar moieties. These points of potential reception are found at the C-2, C-6 and C-10 carbon groups with the 10-O-β offering the best points of linkage. In one preferred embodiment, one (1) host carbohydrate is linked to a fraction of mogroside V, for example, as illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 7A, resulting in a sweetener that is in relative terms 2:1 times as sweet as sucrose.

A number of sweet-tasting, plant-derived terpenoids and phenolics and other naturally occurring glycosides have been isolated and characterized, including the bisabolane sesquiterpenoids, hernandulcin and 4β-hydroxyhernandulcin, cucurbitane, the labdane diterpene glycoside—gaudichaudioside A, the oleanane triterpenoid glycoside—periandrin V, the cycloartane triterpene glycosides—abrusosides A-E, the 3,4-seco-dammarane triterpene glycosides—pterocaryosides A and B, the semisynthetic dihydroflavonol—dihydroquercetin 3-acetate (4′-methyl ether), and the proanthocyanidin—selligueain A. One preferred embodiment of the present invention, as noted above, comprises mogroside(s) IV and/or V derived from Momordica Grosvenori, also known as Lo Han Guo. The mogrosides IV and V have been selected for cracking or fractioning via the process of the present invention for two primary reasons: 1) the supply chain is already established and the mogrosides IV and V are readily available in sufficient quantities to produce commercially required amounts of the novel polysaccharide sweetener compound; and, 2) they are known to be safe and efficacious. Further, upon cracking or fractioning, these mogroside fractions are generally about 250 to 300 times as sweet as sucrose, and have been found to be about 400 times sweeter then sugar in oral evaluations.

Looking now to the process of manufacturing a novel polysaccharide sweetener compound in accordance with the present invention, a second component, such as a base component, specifically in the illustrated embodiment, a natural fruit sugar such as a naturally occurring monosaccharide is selected, such as fructose, or another natural fruit sugar, to be the backbone, if you will, of the novel polysaccharide sweetener compound. In at least one embodiment, the base component selected is a ketohexose sugar such as, D-fructose, D-sorbose, D-psicose, or D-tagatose. Next, an adjunct component comprising a suitable naturally occurring polysaccharide compound is selected based upon user specific application requirements, which may be simply a substitute for natural table sugar thus comprising the same functionality of sucrose, or it may be a specific combination of natural sugars and/or derivatives thereof which is utilized in a commercial food processing environment. In a broad sense, the functionality includes such factors as comparable density, pourability, and thermogenic properties of the target composition, just to name a few. In some cases, the palatability, or mouth feel, of the target composition may be of importance, for example, when the target composition is utilized for direct personal application to a food or beverage for consumption, such as table sugars, honey, and syrups, just to name a few.

In at least one embodiment, one half of the polysaccharide comprises a fraction, fxx [where fxxΦ=r1 . . . rN+ψ (where ψ=n2), and ab initio calculations of ψ are determined by F(1)Φc·(1)ε1Φ1 (1) and the limit Λ of Ψ are determined by computational input], of a mogroside that has been reduced or decomposed from its original molecular structure via a non-metallic, non-enzymatic baric-electromagnetic-thermal cycloelimination reaction of process of the present invention, with the resultant components being constituent disaccharide fractions that are the non-glucose element of the polysaccharide sweetener compound of the present invention. The extraneous result of the present process induces water activity and the loss of nitrogen when present in the mogroside structure. These individual constituent disaccharide fractions do not establish valence or linkage with other constituent disaccharide fractions because the functional density field within the processing vessel, as described further below, inhibits bonding, keeping the molecules in a state of anti-bonding per ΦCF=((a+kb) (1) (b+ka) (2)+(b+ka) (1) (a+kb) (2)) (α(1) β(2)−β(1)α(2)).

Looking now to one embodiment of the process 10 of the present invention, a first stage processing vessel 20 is charged with the appropriate amounts of each of a first component, e.g., a base component, and a second component, e.g. an adjunct component, as illustrated schematically in FIG. 1. The first stage processing vessel 20 is utilized to separate the components for delivery to and further processing in a second stage processing vessel 30. In at least one embodiment, both the first stage and second stage processing vessels, 20 and 30, are capable of withstanding considerable and rapid changes in pressure, and as such, one preferred embodiment comprises processing vessels having a spherical configuration so as to permit equal pressures to be rapidly and evenly achieved throughout the entire vessel, as will be appreciated more fully below of course, it remains within the scope and intent of the present invention to utilize processing vessels having alternate geometric configurations including, but not limited to, conical, ovoid, or elongated cylindrical, just to name a few, such may be readily available at a commercial processing facility. The rapid pressure changes which may be effected in a spherical processing vessel, however, may result in an optimum throughput and/or yield from the process of the present invention.

As indicated above, the first stage processing vessel 20 is utilized to separate and store the base and adjunct components for delivery to the second stage processing vessel 30. As such, the first stage processing vessel 20 comprises a series of screens 25 of various mesh sizes to effect the separation of the base and adjunct components based upon the physical size of each. As will be appreciated, the first stage processing vessel 20 is charged through an upper portion to allow gravity to effect the separation of the components through the screens 25. Additional screens 25 may be utilized to separate any of a variety of fortifiers which may be incorporated into the novel polysaccharide sweetener compound including, but not limited to, vitamins, minerals, and/or other fortifiers as may be required for a specific application. To facilitate the separation of the components in the first stage processing vessel 20, a vacuum may be applied to a lower portion of the first stage processing vessel 20. In addition, it will be appreciated that the first stage processing vessel 20 comprises a discharge port and/or a plurality of discharge lines to transfer each component on an as needed basis to the second stage processing vessel 30.

Once the first stage processing vessel 20 has been charged and placed under vacuum for a period of time, the base and adjunct components, and any fortifiers as may be required, will physically separate into layers within the first stage processing vessel 20. Next, an amount of the adjunct component, for example, a preselected macromolecule, is drawn into the second stage processing vessel 30, by lowering the pressure in the second stage processing vessel 30 to slightly below the pressure in the first stage processing vessel 20 to produce a pressure gradient sufficient to induce the transfer of the adjunct component from the first stage processing vessel 20 to the second stage processing vessel 30.

Of course, it will be appreciated that in at least one embodiment, the first stage processing vessel 20 may be eliminated and the adjunct component, the base component, and any required fortifiers, may be charged separately and directly into the second stage processing vessel 30. While this alternative embodiment is within the scope and intent of the present invention, a two stage processing arrangement is preferred for several reasons. First, the use of a first stage processing vessel 20 in the manner described herein allows for the components to be stored and readied for transfer to the second stage processing vessel 30 at the required pressure, thereby eliminating the need to control pressure in a plurality of vessels and or transfer lines to charge the second stage processing vessel 30. Further, and more importantly, the use of a two stage processing arrangement allows for continuous or semi-batch feed processing, versus single batch processing when just a single processing vessel is utilized, once again, significantly increasing throughput when utilizing the process of the present invention.

Once charged with the first component, in this embodiment the adjunct component, the pressure in the second stage processing vessel 30 is returned to approximately ambient pressure, or about one (1) bar. Next, a low amount of heat is applied to the second stage processing vessel 30 to increase the temperature from about 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit to no more than about 85° F., a point where the bonds of the adjunct component begin to crack (i.e. a loosening temperature). At this point, at a desired cleaving temperature, which may be the same as the loosening temperature, the adjunct component is rapidly subjected to first stage pressure increase, such as in the range of about 660 to 700 feet below sea level for a period of one-half to two seconds, after which, the pressure in the second stage processing vessel 30 is reduced, such as via a rapid return to ambient pressure, or about one (1) bar.

This thermal and baric processing of the adjunct component, previously known as retrocycloaddition, but more recently known and hereinafter referenced as cycloelimination, results in cleaving or fractioning of a first component constituent, such as the constituent disaccharide fractions from each polysaccharide component, without destruction of the individual disaccharide fractions, and elimination of the glucose side chains, as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 5A, with the subsequent release of a first stage bi-product, such as a hydrogen and oxygen atom for each disaccharide molecule cleaved. Due to the subsequent release of the hydrogen and oxygen atoms, the constituent disaccharide fractions do not bond or otherwise recombine with one another upon return to ambient pressure of approximately one (1) bar. To further assure against such recombination, the oxygen and hydrogen released from cracking of the adjunct component may be evacuated into a stereo metric chamber 40 disposed in communication with the second stage processing vessel 30. FIG. 6 is illustrative of the reduction process of the mogroside V macromolecule, in accordance with the present invention

Following thermal and baric processing of the adjunct component, which effectively cleaves the constituent disaccharide fractions, as illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 7A, from the adjunct component, the second processing vessel 30 is charged with a stoichiometric amount of the second or base component. To effect the transfer of the base component from the first stage processing vessel 20 to the second stage processing vessel 30, a slight pressure gradient is again created between the two vessels by reducing the pressure in the second stage processing vessel 30, thereby creating a pressure gradient sufficient to effect a transfer of the required amount of the base component from the first stage processing vessel 20 to the second stage processing vessel 30.

After charging the second stage processing vessel 30 with the base component, the second stage processing vessel 30 is subjected to an intermingling pressure, such as placed under a vacuum equivalent to about 29,000 feet above sea level or 0.6 millibar, and the temperature in the second stage processing vessel 30 is elevated to an intermingling temperature, such as between about 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. By heating the components at a relatively low temperature, i.e., a temperature below the threshold for thermal decomposition, yet at a significantly reduced pressure, the base components and the constituent disaccharide fractions of the adjunct component, as illustrated in FIG. 8, are induced into a state of intermingling or chemoselective promiscuous ligation with one another, but not with themselves. More in particular, chemoselective promiscuous ligation is at least partially defined by two asymmetrical and differentiated molecules reacting exclusively with one another rather than combining with each other, or reforming into the original long chain molecule from which they were derived.

While the base component and the monosaccharide constituents of the adjunct component are in the state of chemoselective promiscuous ligation, a second stage pressure increase is applied by having the pressure in the second stage processing vessel 30 is rapidly increased to a range equivalent to between about 2,000 and 3,000 feet below sea level. This rapid pressure increase is effected in approximately one second and causes cycloaddition between one base component molecule and one constituent disaccharide fraction of the adjunct component, the cycloaddition resulting in the release of a second stage bi-product, such as a hydrogen atom from each base component molecule. In at least one embodiment, the process further comprises maintenance of the temperature of the components within the second stage processing vessel 30 during the increase in pressure. Pressure in the second stage processing vessel 30 is then reduced, first to about 4 bar, then to about 2 bar, and finally back to substantially about atmospheric pressure to allow the novel polysaccharide sweetener compound to migrate towards the bottom of the vessel 30, via gravity, for discharge and subsequent processing as may be desired.

Applicant's U.S. patent application contemporaneously filed on Sep. 13, 2006 in with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and having Serial No. (to be determined) discloses at least one illustrative embodiment of a system which may be employed to carry out the process for manufacturing a novel polysaccharide sweetener compound in accordance with the present invention. Further, FIG. 9 of the present application is illustrative of the reaction mechanism resulting in the formation of a novel polysaccharide sweetener compound in accordance with the present invention.

As such, the net result of the process is the production of one novel polysaccharide sweetener compound for each base molecule, and the subsequent formation of one water molecule from the hydrogen released by each base component molecule during cycloaddition, and the hydrogen and oxygen molecule released for each constituent disaccharide fraction produced from the adjunct component during the thermal and baric cracking of the adjunct component. Further, via the present process, it is possible to obtain a high purity product, typically in the range of 90 to 100 percent of the polysaccharide formed by this process is of a desired composition. In addition, the measure of water formation provides a means for measurement of the production of the novel polysaccharide sweetener compound, as they are formed in a one to one molar ratio, as per the following simplified chemical equation of the aforementioned process:
nC6H12O6+n(C10H17O3+OH)→nC16H28O9+nH2O
wherein nC6H12O6 represents (n) moles of the base component, n(C10H17O3) represent (n) moles of the constituent disaccharide fraction of the adjunct component after thermal and baric processing, or cracking, and n(OH) represents (n) moles each of oxygen and hydrogen released from the adjunct component during cracking, resulting in nC16H28O9 represents (n) moles of the novel polysaccharide sweetener compound produced, along with (n) moles of water, a byproduct of the reaction process. A further feature of this novel process for manufacturing a polysaccharide sweetener compound is that the water formed as a reaction byproduct is available to adjust the moisture content of the polysaccharide sweetener compound which, depending on its ultimate application, may vary from a substantially dry composition to a slurry of the sweetener compound in water.

In at least one embodiment, one or more fortifiers may be added to the novel polysaccharide sweetener compounds. One fortifier may comprise a vitamin, or an entire daily recommended dosage of vitamins for a specific group of person, for example, the daily recommended dosage of vitamins for children. Additionally, or alternatively, one or more mineral supplements may be combined with the novel polysaccharide sweetener compound as a fortifier. Other compounds may be utilized as fortifiers, which are cross linked or cross bonded to polysaccharide via further baric processing. Specifically, the polysaccharide sweetener compound produced in accordance with the present invention is reduced to a pressure equivalent to about 20,000 feet above sea level in the second stage processing vessel 30. As a result of this hypobaric pressure, the polysaccharide sweetener compound is induced into a relaxed, opened state due to the repulsive forces of magnetically opposite portions of the compound. As such, the compound is open to the combine with of one or more fortifiers which are charged into the second stage processing vessel 30 from the first stage processing vessel 20. The combination of the fortifiers with the polysaccharide sweetener compound of the present invention is via a cross linking or cross bonding mechanisms, not by means of actual covalent bonding between these components. Additionally, and as noted above, one or more fortifier or other constituent may be entrained within the physical structure of the polysaccharide sweetener compound of the present invention once it returns to a normal, closed state. After the fortifier(s) have been charged to the second stage processing vessel 30, the pressure in the second stage is returned to approximately ambient pressure, allowing the polysaccharide sweetener compound to return to a closed configuration, thereby entrapping the fortifier within. IN at least one embodiment, a third or forth stage processing vessel may be employed to facilitate the addition of one or more fortifier to a polysaccharide sweetener compound, once again, to facilitate continuous, or at least, semi-batch operation.

In one preferred embodiment, the process of the present invention is utilized to produce the novel polysaccharide sweetener compound, 10-O-β-D-fructofuranosyl, 1,6-β-D-mogropyranosyl, as illustrated in FIG. 3, having a molecular formula of C16H28O9, which is not sucrose, lactose, maltose or any isomer or molecular rearrangement of sucrose or any other known polysaccharide. The present process produces this novel compound having a condensation/concentration of about 66° to 70° BRIX, which can be used directly as a sweetener in that state, of course, this can be vacuum pan modified to produce a crystalline product, wherein the rate and growth of the crystal is mitigated as the conditions under which it is being solidified and grown are managed by the ambient pressure or lack thereof. The end result is a novel polysaccharide sweetener compound which is a freely soluble, linen-white, non-bulking crystalline powder that has a sucrose clean odor and taste. Further, this novel compound has a molecular weight, in a preferred embodiment, of 316.38, a melting point in the range of about 160 to 180° C., and in a most preferred embodiment, about 171° C.±4° C., and a specific gravity of 1.49.

The present invention further comprises a method of selecting components for a polysaccharide sweetener compound specifically for use in a preselected food processing application, as noted above. As such, the present invention allows for the manufacture of novel polysaccharide sweetener compounds which emulate a natural sweetener and/or derivatives thereof for use in any of a plurality of food processing applications. More specifically, the present invention provides a novel polysaccharide sweetener having an equivalent functionality as a natural sweetener or natural sweetener derivative, wherein the functionality includes such factors as comparable density, pourability, and thermogenic properties, just to name a few. In some cases, as noted above, the palatability, or mouth feel, of the polysaccharide sweetener compound may be of importance, for example, particularly when the compound is to be utilized for direct personal application and consumption in a food or beverage, such as table sugars, honey, and syrups, just to name a few.

The method comprises analysis of the composition to be replaced with a novel polysaccharide sweetener compound which may include, but is by no means limited to, measurement of the Brix, or sweetness index of the composition, as well as other physical properties such as density, viscosity, particle size distribution. In addition, infrared spectroscopy and/or thermal signature imaging may be utilized to further characterize the composition to be replaced. Based upon these parameters, an appropriate combination of base component and adjunct component may be selected for manufacture of a polysaccharide sweetener compound having an equivalent functionality.

Since many modifications, variations and changes in detail can be made to the described preferred embodiment of the invention, it is intended that all matters in the foregoing description and shown in the accompanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.

Now that the invention has been described,