Journal of food science

Physical and chemical stability of tagatose powder.

PMID 22384955


Tagatose is a reduced-calorie monosaccharide that displays prebiotic properties. Water can interact with powdered tagatose to varying extents, depending upon the storage environment. Adsorbed water can impact the stability of tagatose, altering its functionality and usability as an ingredient. The objective of this study was to evaluate the physical and chemical stability of bulk tagatose powder as a function of relative humidity (RH) and temperature. Powdered tagatose was stored in desiccators at 20, 30, and 40 °C and 33% to 85% RH. Moisture contents (MC), physical characteristics, tagatose degradation profiles, and browning kinetics were monitored for 12 mo. The critical RH associated with deliquescence (RH0) was approximately 85% at 20 °C. MC values below RH0 were all less than 2% (wb). The MC at 85% RH ranged from 55% to 80% (wb), increasing as temperature decreased. At 33% RH and 20 °C tagatose remained a free flowing powder. As either temperature or RH increased, varying degrees of physical caking occurred. At 85% RH, tagatose deliquesced at all temperatures. Browning occurred in all samples at 40 °C. Despite physical caking and browning, measurable tagatose degradation was only observed in the deliquesced sample at 85% RH and 40 °C, where 20% loss occurred in 6 mo. Although extreme RHs and temperatures are required for tagatose degradation to occur, intermediate RHs and temperatures promote physical caking and deliquescence, which create handling problems during product formulation. The exposure of tagatose to elevated relative humidities and temperatures should be avoided to maintain its physical and chemical quality.

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D-(−)-Tagatose, ≥98.5%