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A Novel Biological Process to Produce D-Allulose, A Low-Calorie Functional Sugar

Technology Overview

D-allulose (also called D-psicose) is a rare sugar that exists in extremely small quantities in nature. It has 70% sweetness of table sugar (sucrose), offers similar taste and texture of table sugar but with only 10% calorie of sucrose. Unlike other caloric sugars, D-Allulose has no impact on blood glucose or insulin levels. Although there are promising applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries, it is difficult for mass production of D-allulose. Currently D-allulose is produced from partial conversion of D-fructose by the D-psicose 3-epimerase (DPEase) family of enzymes.

One of the bottlenecks in the production of D-allulose lies in the separation of D-allulose from D-fructose. These two sugars share similar physical and chemical properties, separating them using current technologies e.g. column chromatography, is very expensive at industrial scale. To solve this problem, researchers have focused on increasing the D-fructose to D-allulose conversion rate. However, the inherent DPEase reaction equilibrium make it unable to obtain 100% conversion of D-fructose to D-allulose. Therefore, the issue for separation of these two sugar epimers has to be solved.

Here, a novel biological process has been developed to bypass D-fructose and D-allulose separation. A probiotic fermentation is used to convert all unconverted D-fructose in the sugar mixture to L-lactic acid while keeping all D-allulose unchanged. Besides obtaining D-allulose, the process can also produce L-lactic acid and probiotics as valuable side products. This new process would benefit the current manufacturers for the D-allulose and other rare sugars production.

This technology owner is seeking partners for technology licensing or potential collaboration for production process development, e.g. in the field of alternative sugar production.

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

This technology comprises a novel approach to produce D-allulose starting from D-fructose.

D-fructose is partially converted to D-allulose followed by adding a probiotics to initiate the fermentation. The key advantage of this technology is :

  • Convert unreacted D-fructose into L-lactic acid
  • The D-allulose will not be consumed by the probiotics, remain unchanged.
  • High-value side-stream: L-lactic acid and probiotics.

Under optimum conditions, at the end of fermentation, the broth contains 60 g/L of D-allulose, 107 g/L of L-lactic acid, add 4.5 g/L of probiotics.

Potential Applications

The main target industry for this process technology will be the current food ingredients manufacturing industry. 

D-allulose has been obtained GRAS status and has application in the following industries.

Food industry

Because of its unique ultra-low calorie and similar taste and texture to table sugar, D-allulose is expected to be the most promising replacement of table sugar in the near future. The applications for D-allulose allowed by the FDA include :

  • Carbonated and non-carbonated beverages
  • Coffee mix
  • Yogurt, both regular and frozen; frozen dairy desserts, including regular ice cream, soft serve, sorbet
  • Salad dressings; sweet sauces and syrups
  • Jams and jellies; puddings and fillings
  • Chewing gum; hard and soft candies
  • Fat-based cream used in modified fat/calorie cookies, cakes and pastries; 
  • Rolls, cake, pie, pastries, biscuits and frostings; gelatin,
  • Medical foods

Health supplements industry

Because of the distinct therapeutic effects of D-allulose, it can be an important ingredient for various health supplements.

Customer Benefit

This process does not require sugar-sugar purification, which is usually conducted by chromatography like simulated moving bed (SMB). The scale-up of SMB is otherwise complicated and high cost which renders the high price of D-allulose.

This process also produces lactic acid and probiotics as side streams which can make high value ingredients, making the whole process more attractive.

Contact Person

Xingding Zhou


Ngee Ann Polytechnic

Technology Category

  • Foods
  • Ingredients, Processes
  • Manufacturing

Technology Readiness Level


D-psicose, low-calorie functional sugar, novel biological process, low calorie, diabetes, dairy, confectionary, low sugar, low GI, less sugar, healthy, healthier, nutrition, probiotic