Fructose and glucose are commonly present together in mixtures and may need to be separated. Current separation methods for these isomers are complex and costly. Nanofiltration is a cost-effective method that has been widely used for separating carbohydrates of different sizes; however, it is not commonly used for such similar molecules. Here, we report the separation of fructose and glucose in a nanofiltration system in the presence of fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Experiments were performed using a pilot-scale filtration setup using a spiral wound nanofiltration membrane with molecular weight cutoff of 1 kDa. We observed three important factors that affected the separation: (1) separation of monosaccharides only occurred in the presence of FOS and became more effective when FOS dominated the solution; (2) better separation was achieved when the monosaccharides were mainly fructose; and (3) the presence of salt improved the separation only moderately. The rejection ratio (Rf /Rg) in a fructose/glucose mixture is 0.92. We reported a rejection ratio of 0.69, which was observed in a mixture of 50 g/L FOS with a fructose to glucose ratio of 4.43. The separation is hypothesized to occur due to selective transport in the FOS layer, resulting in a preferential binding towards fructose.
- Fructose glucose separation