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The hydrolysis of sucrose, a disaccharide, to form invert sugar produces an equimolar mixture of fructose and glucose, two monosaccharides as follows:
Sucrose inversion can be accomplished in a homogeneous fashion by a bulk addition of acid to the syrup and an added base for neutralization at the completion of the reaction. However, this produces an additional amount of ash which may exceed the liquid invert specifications and possibly create significant amounts of HMF (Hydroxy-methyl-furfural), which is associated with color formation.
Heterogeneous Inversion of Sucrose:
Heterogeneous inversion of sucrose can be accomplished using a strong acid cation resin (H+ form), such as Purolite C124SH, and neutralization of the acids produced from the existing ash in the syrup with a weak base anion resin. This results in color and ash removal.
Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is an invert sugar dehydration degradation reaction product that must be minimized to avoid color formation. For a given syrup, the formation of HMF (like sucrose inversion itself) is primarily controlled by a combination of temperature and flow rate. As a result, it is advisable to limit the temperature of inversion to 40-45 °C to minimize HMF production.