Bitterness Removal from a Polyol

A large North American corn wet miller produces corn-derived polyol sweeteners at one of their plants. The polyol contains a bitter flavor component that carries through to the spray dried product used in low-calorie chewing gum sweetener that affected the taste of the finished product.

Purolite supplied resins to the company for demineralization, chromatographic separation and mixed bed polishing of the polyol. Because of the long-standing relationship, they were aware of Purolite's ability to provide custom products and solutions and approached us for a solution to their flavor issue.

The caveat, however, was that the customer was only willing to modify their existing purification process but could not add additional purification equipment.

Purolite has a wide range of adsorbents that are effective for removing bitter flavors. After evaluating the specific compounds, it was decided that Macronet™ MN500 adsorbent could be highly effective. The customer conducted a lab test that confirmed that MN500 successfully removed the bitter component.

Since the MN500 density is similar to a strong acid cation resin and also contains sulfonic acid functionality, we were able to replace half of the strong acid cation resin in the mixed bed with MN500. The strong acid cation (SAC) component of the bed largely serves as a pH moderator, so no loss of capacity in the mixed bed was realized.

Removing the bitter component from the MN500 resin required a regeneration process with sodium hydroxide (NaOH). During the first part of the regeneration, the NaOH is passed all the way through the bed, regenerating the SAC resin while at the same time stripping the bitterness off the MN500. Next, the cation resin and MN500 is then regenerated with acid and the regeneration is completed.

The corn wet miller was able to produce their polyol without a bitter taste component using the equipment they already had in service with only a small modification of the regeneration procedure.

The customer realized the creativity that Purolite showed in meeting their goals of producing a non-bitter polyol with adding process equipment.

The Macronet™ MN500 adsorbent resin has been operating successfully for 13 years.

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