What is Starch?
Starch acts as an energy storage for the vast majority of plants. It is a carbohydrate found naturally in wheat, maize and potatoes. Although starch is usually obtained from these products, it is also seen in many other agricultural products such as rice, peas, legumes, sweet potatoes and bananas.
Formation of starch in plants goes through the process of photosynthesis. This physiological mechanism enables plants to produce and store glucose (essential sugar) necessary for their growth and reproduction. It is vital for plant reproduction and growth. In plants, starch appears as small granules that are insoluble in cold water.
From Which Sources Is Starch Obtained?
Starch granules are found in solid form in seeds (maize, wheat, rice, etc.), tubers (potatoes) and roots (tapioca) of plants. Starch, which is the result of the carbohydrate synthesis of the plant, constitutes the basic content and energy source of the plant. Starch is produced from different agricultural raw materials in different parts of the world. In Turkey, starch is obtained only from maize.
In the starch industry, the maize that are separated from the cob during harvest are separated into components such as starch, oil, protein and fiber. In the first stage, a series of simple processes are used to physically separate the components: breaking, sieving, centrifugation, etc... In the second stage, the starch extracted in its purest form is used as it is after drying (natural starch), or after undergoing various transformations aimed at changing its performance (modified starch).
At the end of these processes, starch and derived products are ready to use in the form of powder (similar to flour in appearance) or syrups.
The starch industry in Turkey produces a wide range of different products, from natural starches to modified starches, liquid and solid sweeteners:
Some of the traditional functions of starch are binding, thickening, texture, stabilizing and gelling. With these unique properties, natural starches are used in many food or non-food industries. It may be necessary to increase the performance of starch and improve (modify) the function of starch to meet the needs of different industries. For example, to provide solubility in cold water, more stable viscosity at different temperatures, hot fluidity, better stability...
Modified starches have often been developed in partnership with different industries trying to adapt starches to their needs. In the food field for example, key modifications have been made to adapt starch to technological constraints caused by cooking, freezing/thawing, canning or sterilization, and to make it compatible with a modern food (microwave, instant cooking, ultra high temperatures etc.).
By various modification methods of starch, easier food preparation, better preservation of food, better food stability even when heated under severe conditions and preservation of sterile properties of food are provided.
Maltodextrins are ingredients of plant origin derived from maize starch.
Starch producers in Turkey use domestic maize as a raw material in maltodextrin production. Maltodextrins are unmatched due to their texturizing, gelling, emulsifying and non-crystallizing properties. They have various areas of use:
• It is an ideal carbohydrate to be used in special nutrition such as infant feeding, sports nutrition and clinical applications.
• They are used instead of some oils. They improve the texture of the food without increasing its caloric value.
• They have a neutral flavor and can help incorporate spices into meals.
• It is also used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications as excipient (inactive ingredient) in pharmaceutical production.
Starch sugar (starch-based sugar) is sugar produced from starch. It is a natural grain product. It is produced in liquid form for ease of use and can also be crystallized if desired. It is very similar to table sugar/sucrose and honey in terms of content, sweetness, calories and metabolism. Almost all of the sugars in products such as fruits and honey consist of sugars that make up starch sugar, namely glucose and fructose.
It provides energy, sweetness and moisture in foods, and supports aroma and stability. By bringing additional functionality to many industries (beverages, confectionery, dairy products…), it contributes to the texture, color stability and flavor of the final product.
The amount of glucose and fructose in starch sugar can be adjusted according to the needs of the food industry. Production of these products in liquid form enables them to be used directly in food production without having to dissolve in water. Being storable, and not requiring purification while being used as a product in the food industry, it provides ease of use compared to sucrose. All production steps of starch sugar are carried out by automated systems. Thus, any risks regarding food safety and hygiene are minimized.
Starch sugar, like starch, can adapt to a wide variety of products, each of which develops specific properties. The decomposition (hydrolysis) used for the production of starch sugar allows the production of a large variety of products with a wide sweetening capacity, texture and taste. Starch sugar is called differently according to the glucose-fructose ratio it contains:
Glucose syrups do not contain fructose. Glucose syrup is produced by the hydrolysis (decomposition) of starch. Available in liquid, solid and transparent form (similar to honey). It was discovered in Japan in the 9th century and the glucose syrup production process was developed in the 19th century by the German scientist Kirchhoff. Glucose syrup is a traditional product with a long history of use by pastry cooks, confectioners and chefs.
A number of kitchen products benefit from the unique properties of this ingredient:
Bakery products: e.g. pastries, cookies, cakes etc.
Confectionery products: e.g. desserts, pastilles, nougat, etc.
During the production of glucose syrup, different grades of glucose syrup are obtained by using various processes that reveal different and beneficial properties of starch as a result of its decomposition in varying temperatures.
These syrups contain both free glucose (dextrose) and glucose chains of varying lengths.
Depending on their different properties, glucose syrups provide texture, volume, flavor, gloss, improved stability and a longer shelf life for the products to which they are added. Glucose syrups keep cakes soft and prevent biscuits from drying out, sugar from crystallizing in desserts and jams, and water crystallization in ice creams.
Glucose-fructose syrup is a plant-based sugar made from grains. Starch producers in Turkey produce glucose syrups only from domestically produced maize.
Glucose-fructose syrup, just like table sugar, consists of two simple sugars: Glucose and fructose. Table sugar (sucrose) has a 50% fructose/50% glucose content, while the fructose content of glucose-fructose syrups can range from 42% to 55%. Depending on this content, they are called glucose-fructose syrup (48% glucose, 42% fructose) or high fructose corn syrup (45% glucose, 55% fructose).
These syrups are used in a number of different beverage and food products, not only for their flavoring properties but also for additional beneficial properties that make them an essential ingredient in certain recipes.
Glucose-fructose syrup is a simple carbohydrate. All sugars should be consumed in moderate amounts as part of a healthy and varied diet, in accordance with the physical demands of the body.
Dextrin is a pure and crystalline glucose, obtained by annealing starches for its stickiness and thickening properties. It is also found in many food products such as bakery products, instant mixes, frozen desserts and other dairy products.
Additionally, the adhesive properties of dextrins make them the most important component in the production of corrugated cardboard and paper bags.
It is pure and crystalline fructose. Crystalline fructose is obtained by separating fructose from high fructose corn syrup. Crystalline fructose is used as a substitute for sucrose, especially in dry mixes, bakery products and snack foods.
Polyols are low-calorie alternative sweeteners produced from starch. Polyols containing less calories than sucrose do not promote tooth decay and produce a lower glycemic response in the body. This makes them an important ingredient used in diabetic foods and beverages; oral care products such as toothpaste; and low-calorie chewing gums.
Plant-based protein products are an important complement or alternative to animal proteins in many foods. It can therefore contribute to the global effort to create a more sustainable agri-food system.
In addition to producing a wide range of innovative and traditional products and ingredients, starch producers in Turkey also produce fibers and plant-based proteins with a wide range of functionality and uses.
These products are included in special diets such as bakery and sports nutrition, elderly nutrition, plant-based drinks, meat alternatives and hospital diets. It is also used in animal feed and dry food for pets.
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