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Identification & Differentiation of Multiple Sugars

Sugar identification - Keit IRmadillo

There are many types of sugar molecules, many of which have very similar structures making them difficult to differentiate with standard analytical methods. Industry is looking for a better way to monitor the presence of sugars with precise, real-time results.

The IRmadillo FTIR spectrometer was used to analyse aqueous mixtures of up to seven different sugars simultaneously. The spectrometer is capable of qualitatively and quantitatively differentiating between monosaccharides, even when the structural differences between them are minimal.

IRmadillo & Analysis of Seven Sugar Varieties

The IRmadillo generated spectrum from analysing a solution containing seven different sugars.  With the data, a PLS (partial least squares) model was used to provide the quantification of the sugar.  The analysis showed not only how much sugar was present, but the instrument could also differentiate which sugars were present in the solution in real time (Figure 1).

IRmadillo Sugar spectra with structures
Figure 1: Spectra of seven sugar solutions acquired simultaneously on an IRmadillo with a 120 s sampling time between 900 and 2000 cm-1. The structures of the sugars are shown to the right.


The results demonstrate that the IRmadillo FTIR spectrometer operates as a sugar sensor to monitor the concentrations of up to seven different sugars in an aqueous mix simultaneously. This means that real-time online analysis of complicated mixtures is now possible, without the need for extractive sampling techniques or HPLC.

Industrial Applications

Many manufacturing processes make use of sugars. Bioethanol/Biofuels and Pulp and Paper industries monitor the presence and concentration of sugars as some of their processes involve fermentation and sugar production as intermediaries and by-products.  Keit has developed the solid-state IRmadillo FTIR spectrometer to provide rapid insight in monitoring industrial processes including sugars.

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