Print version ISSN 0104-1428
OLIVEIRA, Silvia P. D. de; MAHL, Cynthia R. A.; SIMOES, Márcia R. and SILVA, Classius F. da. Chitosan as flocculant agent for clarification of stevia extract. Polímeros [online]. 2012, vol.22, n.4, pp. 401-406. Epub Oct 30, 2012. ISSN 0104-1428. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-14282012005000066.
Stevia is used as a sweetener due to its low calorific value and its taste, which is very similar to that of sucrose. After extraction from dried leaves, stevia extract is dark in colour, and therefore needs to be whitened to increase acceptance by consumers. In this study we tested chitosan, a cationic polyelectrolyte, as flocculant agent for the whitening of the Stevia extract. Positive charges of chitosan can interact electrostatically with a counter-ion, sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP), and then chitosan precipitates. A factorial design was used to study the whitening process, in which Glycosides Removal, Colour Removal, Turbidity Removal and Soluble Solids Removal were evaluated. The studied factors were Chitosan Mass and pH of the TPP solution. The results showed that chitosan is a good flocculant agent, being able to flocculate both the glycosides and the pigments that make the extract coloured.
Keywords : Stevia; sweeteners; chitosan; flocculation; clarification.