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Fructose (fruit sugar)


Possible application of gene technology Labelling
Raw material starch from GM maize possible
Enzymes, produced with the aid of GM micro-organisms no



Fructose, also known as fruit sugar, is the second building block of table sugar (saccharose) after glucose. It may be found in many fruits and – combined with glucose – in the juices of sugar cane and sugar beets.

There are many methods to manufacture fructose. Starting points may be sugar, glucose syrup or inulin.

  • Through complete hydrolysis, sugar is split into its constituents glucose and fructose (cf. invert sugar syrup). Subsequently, the fructose is separated chromatically from the glucose by use of an ion exchanger. In this process, no enzymes are applied.
  • In the use of glucose syrup , glucose is transformed into fructose by use of the enzyme glucose-isomerase.
  • Inulin is a polysaccharide. It is split into its fructose components by enzymes. Inulin may be obtained from endives, for example.


Fructose is used in many products as a sweetening agent for diabetic persons.

Gene technology

If fructose has been produced from starch, it is possible that gene technology may have been applied to the plant-based sources of starch. The production of enzymes that are used to split and modify starches also may have been conducted with the aid of genetically modified microorganisms.

  • Starting point glucose syrup: as is the case in all products of saccharification the application of gene technology may be expected in:
    Starch as a raw material: corn starch may stem to a certain degree from genetically modified maize, specially if it was importet from the USA or Argentina. In the EU, genetically modified maize is grown on a comparatively small area and nonetheless is not used as a raw material for foodstuff. This may change in the case that the cultivation of GM maize increases in significance. Ingredients derived from several types of GM maize are approved in the EU.
    Also in the future: starch from potatoes or wheat.
    Enzymes: The enzymatic breakdown and modification of starch is performed primarily with amylases and other enzymes. These enzymes are produced for the most part with the use of genetically modified microorganisms.
  • The raw material sugar may stem from genetically modified sugar beets. In the EU, food and feed has been approved that is produced from a GM sugar beet that is cultivated in North America. To date, the commercial cultivation of GM sugar beets in the EU is not planned.
  • Raw material inulin: inulin is produced from endives. Genetically modified endive currently is being processed for approval in the EU.

Labelling: fructose is subject to labelling, if it has been manufactured directly from genetically modified plants such as maize or sugar beets. However, as a rule, several procedural steps are necessary to obtain fructose from starch or from sugar. The question of whether fructose nonetheless is subject to GM labelling remains juristically unresolved.

Enzymes and the manner of their manufacture generally are not indicated on the list of ingredients.


December 10, 2008 [nach oben springen]

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