Isomalt is approximately a 1:1 mixture of the two disac-charide alcohols 1-O-a-D-glucopyranosyl-mannitol (13a) and 1-O-a-D-glucopyranosyl-sorbitol (13b). The development and properties of isomalt have been reviewed (8487). Isomalt is best known under the trade name Palatinit® of Palatinit Sussungsmittel GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sudzucker AG. Isomalt was discovered at Suddeutsche Zucker in the early 1950s. In the late 1970s, Bayer AG joined with Suddeutsche Zucker in the development of isomalt in the joint venture Palatinit Sussungsmittel GmbH. Isomalt is obtained from sucrose in a two-step process in which it is first enzymatically rearranged to produce the reducing disaccharide isomaltulose, which is then hydrogenated to give the 13a/13b mixture known generically as isomalt. The sweetness potency of isomalt is moderately dependent on sucrose reference concentration; Pw(l) = 0.28 and Pw(10) = 0.45 have been reported. Isomalt is generally approved for food usage in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Israel, The Netherlands, South Africa, Austria, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, West Germany, Italy, and Norway. In addition, specific category approvals have been given in a number of other countries. In the United States, isomalt was affirmed as GRAS in 1990 following the publication of the last of four scientific papers detailing the results of safety assessment studies on isomalt (W. Irwin, personal communication, 1990). As is the case for all sweeteners of this type, the bioavailable energy content for isomalt is controversial. Although some studies suggest isomalt to be fully caloric, it is generally accepted that 2.0 cal/g is approximately correct. Thus, isomalt use may permit only a 50% reduction of caloric intake when used as a substitute for fully nutritive sweeteners. Ziesen-itz and Siebert have indicated the intestinal discomfort experienced as a consequence of isomalt consumption to be relatively mild (82).
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