Fermentation leftovers turned into high-value, low-calorie sweetener.
According to an ARS News Service story, Agricultural Research Service scientists are developing a process to turn corn fiber from ethanol production into a high-value, low-calorie sweetener called xylitol. It gives many products a minty-cool taste.
The scientists have found that certain strains of the yeast Pichia guilliermondii excel at producing xylitol from fermented corn fiber.
Xylitol has one-third fewer calories than sugar and about the same sweetening power. Makers of some specialty brand sugarless chewing gums pay about $3 per pound.
It is currently made in Finland by treating acid-treated fibers of birch wood in a chemical process. It is now a $28 million market in foods, mouthwashes, toothpaste and chewing gum.