New inulin test to beat counterfeiters

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Carbohydrate, Fructose

Chinese supplier Fenchem says it has developed a test method to ensure inulin is of the highest quality and not adulterated with steroids and other impurities.

The company said it had combined the commonly used United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) with ELSD (Evaporative Light—Scattering Detector) to deliver more accurate readings.

Typical inulin offerings are combinations of oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Small amounts of free glucose, free fructose and free sucrose are commonly used as well.

“Theoretically, only the oligosaccharides and polysaccharides can be considered as inulin and act as prebiotic for human health,”​ Fenchem stated.

“So, the inulin assay should be calculated by the assay of oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. However, according to USP method, the calculated inulin assay is composed of not only oligosaccharides and polysaccharides but also free glucose and free sucrose.”

No cheating

This led to a situation where readings of prebiotic constituents were inflated, a reality that led to some suppliers adding glucose and fructose to their offerings to enable higher prebiotic readings “and cheat customers”.

“The new method developed by Fenchem will remove free glucose and free sucrose and get the exact inulin assay,” ​Fenchem said. “We are the first company to develop the method,” ​it said would allow its customers to avoid purchasing adulterated product.

Fenchem said it was considering officially standardising the method it will apply to its organic inulin offerings that are derived from Jerusalem artichoke.

Prebiotics such as inulin are best known for their gut health and immunity benefits but have also been linked to weight loss.

The three largest inulin suppliers in the world are Belgian-based Beneo-Orafti and Cosucra, and the Dutch firm, Sensus.

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