Process Modelling and Simulation of Soluble Date Sugar Production

  • Hooralain Bushnaq

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

Sugar, in all forms, is a simple carbohydrate that is converted to glucose and used by the human metabolism for energy. The type of sugar, either natural or refined, significantly affects the body's metabolism and overall health. Commercially used refined sugar (mainly from sugar cane/beet) is a chemically processed product that is rich in sucrose. This refined sugar leads to various dangerous health effects such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension and other slowly fatal deficiency symptoms in humans. The growing awareness among the public and food industry has shown that natural sugars (mostly from fruits and milk) are preferred over refined sugars. The fruits of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) contain high levels of fructose and glucose sugars. These natural forms of sugar are simple, healthy and rapidly assimilated by the human metabolism. The production of highly soluble date sugar powder from these nutritious date fruits would be a novel and promising food product and could provide a superior alternative to commercial refined sugar powders. A novel process technology using state-of-the-art technology to extract this date sugar from the date fruit was adopted, modeled and simulated using Aspen Plus V10 software. The process model consisted of three main steps that were simulated for their best working conditions as follows: (a) freeze-drying of the date pulp at - 50°C and 48 Pa; (b) supercritical carbon dioxide extraction of the sugar components from the freeze-dried date pulp with water as co-solvent at a mixing ratio of 7 wt%; and (c) spray-drying of the date sugar extract to obtain soluble date sugar powder with the addition of Gum Arabic as carrier. The overall production yield was 88%, with 99% of glucose and fructose recovered from the date fruit. The solubility of the date sugar powder produced was improved by the selectivity of the process, elimination of insoluble complex fibers and addition of Gum Arabic. The solubility of the final date sugar product was estimated to be 0.89 g/g-water.
Date of AwardJul 2021
Original languageAmerican English

Keywords

  • Date sugar
  • Aspen Plus simulation
  • simulation of supercritical extraction
  • Fruit
  • spray dried date sugar.

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