Glossary of Sweetener Product, Technology, Manufacturing, and Industry Terms

Sweeteners Plus provides this convenient glossary of products, terms, compounds, and processes. Sweeteners Plus is a regional and national distributor of sweetening products and is located in the Finger Lakes region in Lakeville, NY.

anhydrous: Contains no water.

aseptic: Substance that has been collected in a sterile container without affecting the viable microorganism content of the sample.

ash: Inorganic minerals minutely present in refined sugar and corn syrup. The principal constituents of ash are mineral salts.

bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms found almost everywhere in the environment. Many species are useful or beneficial to man, whereas others are regarded as being neutral or harmful. Most individual bacteria range in size from 0.5 - 4 microns.

Baume scale: Measure of density of a solution determined on an arbitrary scale established by Antoine Baume. It is used primarily by the corn syrup industry.

beet sugar: Sucrose extracted and refined from the root of the plant Beta Vulgaris (sugar beet).

brix: Percentage of sucrose in solution. The unit of measure named after the German scientist, Adolf Brix, who improved the original hydrometer scale devised by K. Balling. In one hundred pounds of sucrose syrup at 66.5 brix, 66.5% of the weight (66.5 lbs.) represents solids in solution; the remainder is water. A rule of thumb relationship between Baume and brix can be established by multiplying Baume by 1.87 to give approximate brix.

cane sugar: Sucrose extracted and refined from the stalk of the plant Saccharum officinarum(sugar cane).

catalyst: A substance which aids or accelerates a chemical reaction without being changed or used in the products of the reaction.

Celsius (centigrade): A temperature scale where the freezing point of water is called zero degrees, and the boiling point of water is 100 degrees. Celsius temperature conversion formulas.

centipoise (cps): A unit of measure of the absolute viscosity of a fluid. Centipoise is related to SSU's by the formula: cps = (SSU)(specific gravity) / 4.55

color: A measure of the light absorbed by substances dissolved in a sugar and water solution.

conversion: The amount or degree to which starch molecules have been split or converted into units of dextrose.

corn syrup: A viscous liquid containing dextrose, maltose, dextrins, and other polysaccharides. Unlike sugar, it has a detectable flavor other than sweetness. Corn syrup is the product of the incomplete hydrolysis of starch; it is usually obtained by heating cornstarch with a dilute acid and/or by enzymatic action. The degree of conversion from starch to dextrose is expressed by the "dextrose equivalent" (D.E.) which is, in effect, a rough measure of corn syrup sweetness.

CV: Abbreviation for "Coefficient of Variation." It is a measure of the relative dispersion of the range of sugar crystal sizes. The higher the CV, the wider the distribution of crystal sizes. "CV = O" corresponds to set of equal size crystals, whereas "CV=infinity" describes an infinite number of infinitely small and large crystals. CV is determined by dividing the standard deviation of MA, by MA, and expressing this number as a percentage.

dextrin: A chain of dextrose molecules, intermediate in complexity between starch and dextrose. Dextrins determine to a large degree the "body" of a corn syrup.

dextrose (glucose): A simple sugar found in corn syrup and inverted sucrose. Dextrose is also called "corn sugar." It is made commercially from cornstarch by the action of heat and acid, and enzymes. It is available as dextrose hydrate containing about 8.5% water, and anhydrous dextrose, which contains less than 0.5% water.

dextrose equivalent (D.E.): A measure of the reducing sugar content of a sweetener calculated as dextrose and expressed as a percentage of the total dry substances in a solution.

double sugar: A disaccharide. See "saccharide."

enzyme: A special protein that catalyzes a specific chemical reaction.

Fahrenheit: A temperature scale commonly used in the United States. Fahrenheit temperature conversion formulas.

floc: A hazy or cloud-like material sometimes found in acidified sugar solutions or in alcoholic solutions.

fructose (levulose): A simple sugar that is found in many fruits and inverted sucrose. May also be produced by isomerizing dextrose using a certain enzyme. It is sweeter than sucrose, highly soluble in water, and hygroscopic. Fructose is sometimes referred to as "fruit sugar."

glucose: See "dextrose."

GMO: GMO-Genetically Modified Organisms

HFCS: Abbreviation for "High Fructose Corn Syrup." HFCS is a high dextrose-equivalent corn syrup from which a portion of the dextrose has been enzymatically changed to fructose. It is sold in three forms: 42% fructose, 55% fructose, and 90% fructose (all on a dry basis scale).

hydrate: A compound containing chemically-bound water.

hydrolysis: The process of splitting a molecule into smaller parts by reaction with water.

hygroscopic: The characteristic of readily absorbing and retaining moisture.

ICUMSA: International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis. ICUMSA color units are roughly equal to RBU's.

invert sugar: A 50/50 mixture of dextrose and fructose formed by the hydrolysis of sucrose. This process, called "inversion," splits the double sugar sucrose into the simple sugars glucose and fructose. Solutions of invert sugar resist crystallization and are hygroscopic.

levulose : See "fructose."

MA: Abbreviation for Mean sieve Aperture. It is the average size of sugar crystals (in microns).

maltose: A double sugar consisting of two molecules of dextrose that are chemicafly bonded together. Found in commercially prepared corn syrups. Maltose is less sweet than sucrose.

micron (micrometer): One millionth of a meter (0.000001 meter), or 0.00003937 inch. It is commonly used to describe the size of individual sugar crystals. The grains in Spreckels Medium granulated sugar average about 350 microns in size.

Microorganism: Usually refers to a bacterium, yeast, or mold. Individual microorganisms can not be seen by the unaided eye. These organisms are found in most niches of our environment.

Mold: A fungus that can be found in the state of a small spore or as large as a mass of connected fibers. Commonly found on old bread, mold spores are easily spread by wind, and grow in moist places.

NFPA: National Food Processors Association. It is now the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

NSDA: National Soft Drink Association.

pH: The symbol "pH" refers to the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a solution, on a scale of 0 to 14. It is the negative logarithm (base 10) of hydrogen ion concentration. A pH of 7 indicates neutrality; values below 7 denote acidity; and values above 7 are alkaline. A pH of 6.0 is acid, and a pH of 5.0 is ten times more concentrated (acidic, in this case) than pH 6.0. A solution with a pH of 4.0 is ten times more concentrated than 5.0, and one hundred times more concentrated than 6.0, and so on.

polarization: A measure of sucrose concentration based on its ability to rotate a plane of polarized light, as determined by a saccharimeter. A pure sucrose solution of standard concentration polarizes 100 "degrees" (percent), by definition. POL (degrees polarization) is affected by the presence of non-sucrose substances, especially invert sugar. Thus, in cases where significant amounts of other substances are present, POL only approximates the actual percent of sucrose.

polysaccharide: A chain of many simple sugars chemically-linked together. Polysaccharides may be converted into simple sugars by hydrolysis.

RBU: Reference basis unit. An NSDA unit of measure for color of sugar solutions, determined by a spectrophotometer.

rds: Refractometric dry substance. The percent by weight of dissolved solids in a solution as determined by a refractometer with a sucrose scale.

reducing sugar: A sugar capable of chemically reducing copper in an alkaline solution (e.g., dextrose or fructose, but not sucrose or starch).

refractive index: A measure of the refraction (bending) of light rays from one medium to another of different density. The refractive index of a solution may be used as a measure of solids in that solution. A refractometer is used in the sugar laboratory forgiving an approximate measure of total dry substance. (See "rds.")

saccharide: A simple sugar or a compound yielding only sugars when hydrolyzed. Usually designated in sugar chemistry as a monosaccharide (e.g., dextrose, fructose, galactose) which is a single-unit sugar, a disaccharide (e.g., lactose, maltose, sucrose) which contains two monosaccharides bonded together, an oligosaccharide (a few monosaccharides linked together), and a polysaccharide (a compound containing many monosaccharides).

saccharumeter: An optical instrument that may be used to measure the percent sucrose in a sugar solution. Specifically, it measures the optical rotation that many molecules impart upon polarized light. Also called a "polariscope."

sediment: The water-insoluble matter in a nutritive sweetener. chiefly carbon, filter aid, and inorganic matter.

simple sugar: A monosaccharide (see "saccharide").

specific gravity: The ratio of the weight of a given volume of substance to the weight of an equal volume of water under specified conditions.

SSU: Saybolt Seconds Universal. A unit of measure of the kinematic viscosity of a fluid. Since this unit refers to the viscosity of liquids in motion, most pump and flow rate calculations are based on SSU’s. These units are related to centipoise by the formula = (centipoise) 4.55 / specific gravity.

starch: A complex carbohydrate made up of very many chemically-linked dextrose units.

strength: Sucrose’s resistance to inversion. This resistance is influenced by the type and quantity of ash present. Beet sugar is generally acknowledged to have more "strength" than cane sugar.

sucrose: A sweet, colorless, water soluble double sugar which occurs in all green plants. It is extracted commercially from sugar cane and sugar beets. Also known as "table sugar."

turbidity: A measure of the light scattered by undissolved substances suspended in a solution.

viscosity: The resistance of liquids to shear, agitation, or flow. Viscosity normally decreases with higher temperatures and lower solids content.

yeast : A common microorganism used in many baking and fermentation processes. Actually a type of fungus, yeast cells are small, most ranging from 3 to 6 microns in size.


Sweeteners Plus is a distributor and manufacturer of liquid and dry sweeteners for food and non-food applications. These include white and brown sugar, organic and kosher products, fructose, maltitol, corn syrup, and invert syrups. Additional services include bottling, custom blending and liquids. Sweeteners are available in bulk, pails, packets, drums, and liquid totes. Sweeteners Plus ships product regionally via long haul by rail and short haul by its own fleet of multi-fuel CNG trucks and nationally via carefully selected distribution partners. We serve customers nationwide from our plant in New York in the Finger Lakes region.

why choose us

Sweeteners Plus is a distributor and manufacturer of liquid and dry sweeteners for food and non-food applications. These include white and brown sugar, organic and kosher products, fructose, maltitol, corn syrup, and invert syrups. Additional services include bottling, custom blending, and liquid fondants. Sweeteners are available in bulk, pails, drums, and liquid totes.

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