Hydrogenated Xylose (Xylitol)
By Atom Bergtrom
One stick of xylitol gum is likely to kill a 20-pound dog.
Xylitol is a lot less toxic to human beings than to pets.
Xylitol is a man-made hydrogenated product, usually containing nickel and, often, aluminum.
I’m not “for” or “against” it, just providing a little background info for the discerning consumer.
If you like and use xylitol, think of this blog entry as a postscript from the History Channel series, “Modern Miracles.”
It’s fun to learn how “stuff” is made.
Dmitry Yu Murzin, et al (“Catabolic Hydrogenation of Sugars,” Biomass Sugars for Non-Fuel Applications, 2016) wrote …
“Even though a lot of effort has been put towards the microbial production and metabolic engineering of xylitol recently, synthesis from xylose is industrially carried out as a catalytic hydrogenation with Ramey nickel catalyst. This traditional approach is based on the analysis of the main components only, although it is known that xylulose, arabinitol, furfural and xylonic acid can appear as by-products.”
Re: microbial production
Re: metabolic engineering
biotechnology and/or nanotechnology
Re: Ramey nickel
a nickel-aluminum alloy
Re: catalytic hydrogenation
treatment with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst such as nickel, palladium, platinum, etc.
Re: Can xylitol be manufactured in any other way?
MANY different ways, hats off to our Modern Age of Technological Divergence, uh, Convergence
Dmitry Yu Murzin, et al (same source as above) wrote …
“A patent disclosed a process for the hydrogenation of sugars, focusing on xylose, by using a catalyst in which ruthenium is supported on zirconia [zirconium oxide] with a metal dispersion of 10% or higher and in which the chlorine content is less than 100 ppm. […] For the catalyst preparation, ruthenium chloride is preferred in comparison to ruthenium nitrate, ruthenium nitrosyl nitrate, and ruthenium acetylacetonate.
“Zeolite Y [sodium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, oxygen, and water] supported ruthenium nanoparticle catalysts prepared by impregnation were evaluated in the hydrogenation of xylose to xylitol. The reaction conditions were optimized to achieve the maximum conversion of xylose and selectivity to xylitol.
“The activity of the Ru [ruthenium] catalyst on a new class of NiO [nickel oxide] modified TiO2 [titanium dioxide], support, Ru(NiO-TiO2), was studied in the liquid phase catalytic hydrogenation of xylose to xylitol. The TiO2 support was modified by impregnation with a nickel chloride precursor and subsequent oxidation.”
Meanwhile, ten years ago.
R. Sreenivas Rao, et al (“Biotechnological Production of Xylitol from Hemicellulosic Materials,” Lignocellulose Biotechnology: Future Prospects, 2007) wrote …
“USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) began to brighten prospects for making xylitol in the United States from corn nearly 10 years ago. The research is part of new uses, quality, and marketability of plant and animal products. USDA and ZuChem received $900,000 fund from BRDC [Biotechnological Research and Development Corporation] for commercialization of xylitol production from agricultural residues using biotechnological process.”
Let’s Follow the Money.
What about zuChem?
According to its website …
“zuChem’s proprietary bioprocess to make xylitol was developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the University of Illinois, and the Biotechnology Research and Development Corporation. This process effectively produces xylitol at high yields from hemicellulose waste streams from a variety of agricultural and forestry feedstocks (corn, sugar cane bagasse, hard and softwoods, etc). The process is currently in pilot scale and is available for license. The Company is also in the process of releasing its KidSweet™ brand of xylitol for children’s dental care applications.”
Re: waste streams
flows of waste from domestic or industrial areas through to final destination (seen by entrepreneurs as value streams, not waste streams)
What about the BRDC (Biotechnological Research and Development Corporation)?
Leona Broydo (Mother Jones Interactive, Apr. 7, 1998) wrote …
“BRDC is USDA’s link to the big boys. Since 1992, USDA and its venture capital firm AARC Corp. have given approximately $16 million in grant money to BRDC, a private corporation owned by biotech company Alexion Pharmaceuticals; along with American Home Products; Dalgety; PLC; Dow Chemical Co.; Mallinckrodt Inc.; McDonald’s Corp.; and Schering Plough.
“BRDC was created primarily as a way to get USDA and public university research into commercial products. It focuses its development work on inventions involving genetic engineering tools, and biological control agents. Profits made from commercializing USDA research are split evenly between BRDC, USDA, and AARC Corp., and BDRC also promises to pay back grant money over time.
“Companies like Dow Chemical have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to be part of BRDC. In exchange, they get access to publicly-funded research going on at USDA and public universities.”
Being a low-tech guy, a prefer cheese over industrial sugar alcohols.
Dairy products won’t poison your pets either.
Gregory D. Miller, Judith K. Jarvis, & Lois D. McBean (Handbook of Dairy Foods and Nutrition, Second Edition, 2000) wrote …
“Milk, particularly casein, has been demonstrated to decrease the adherence of cavity causing bacteria to the teeth. Although it is not known exactly how cheese protects against tooth decay, water soluble components of cheese, such as calcium and possibly phosphorus, may inhibit demineralization and promote remineralization of teeth. Researchers have demonstrated an anticariogenic effect of aged Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, Edam, Gouda, Muenster, mozzarella, Port Salut, Roquefort, Roman, Stilton, Tilsit, and American processed cheeses.”
Andrew Kaplan, D.M.D, & David V. Valauri, D.D.S. (Total Nutrition: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need—From the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1995) wrote …
“A number of cheeses, including blue, Brie, cheddar, Gouda, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and Swiss, as well as meat and nuts have minimal acid-causing potential and are currently thought to be safe for teeth. Furthermore, cheddar cheese, Monterey jack, and Swiss have been found to work as a type of protective barrier against caries development when eaten before or after a sugary snack. This is because the cheeses seem to prevent dips in the mouth’s pH, making the area around the teeth more acid resistant. They also increase the production of saliva, which ‘cleans’ the teeth. (Any decrease in saliva due to the side effects of radiation or chemotherapy treatments for cancer or those of certain drugs, including some commonly prescribed for depression and hypertension, tend to cause an increase in caries, especially at the tooth roots.)”
Postscript (for folks who don’t like dairy products) …
Sexual arousal increases saliva flow.