The worldwide demand for high potency sweeteners is increasing and, with blending of different sweeteners becoming a standard practice, the demand for alternatives is expected to increase. Such sweeteners include both caloric and low-caloric sweeteners. Caloric sweeteners include sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Recently, low-calorie (or non-calorie) sweeteners have gained increased popularity. These can be used as substitutes for caloric sweeteners and are often referred to as “sugar substitutes”. Common sugar substitutes include saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose. One such low-calorie sweetener is stevia, which is a sweetener derived from Steviol glycosides. Demand for Steviol glycosides is growing because of their non-toxic nature, their sugar-like taste profile, and their low caloric value, when used as sugar substitutes.
Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is a perennial shrub of the Asteraceae (Compositae) family native to certain regions of South America. Its leaves have been traditionally used for hundreds of years in Paraguay and Brazil to sweeten local teas and medicines. The leaves of the plant contain a mixture containing diterpene glycosides in an amount ranging from about 10 to 20% of the total dry weight. These diterpene glycosides are about 150 to 450 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia extracts have showed antimicrobial, anti-hypertensive, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory activities in both in vitro and in vivo animal studies. The presence of a wide range of biologically active substances makes Stevia rebaudiana a valuable ingredient in food, cosmetics and cosmaceutical products. With the rapid increase in the popularity of Steviol glycosides, as sugar substitutes and its associated health benefits there is need for efficient and feasible extraction process in the near future. Simulated Moving Bed (SMB) Chromatography combined with high capacity and high linear velocity chromatographic supports can help relieve the bottleneck created by high bio-molecules demand.
Purification of Steviol Glycosides at very high purities from the extracts of Stevia leaves has been accomplished by our team at Orochem using a combination of SMB chromatography and high efficient chromatographic supports.