The High Fructose Business Is A Pretty Sweet Deal At The Dow Chemical Company

June 16, 2000
There isn't anyone anywhere who hasn't enjoyed the sweet taste of their favorite soft drink on a hot day. However, few people know that the satisfying flavor of those drinks is made possible in large part because of ion exchange resins, manufactured by The Dow Chemical Company. DOWEX resins are used in corn sweetener processing, and most of those sweeteners are used in the global, multi-billion dollar soft drink industry. These resins remove unwanted ions and other contaminants that occur in the syrup stream. Separation resin allows the production of enriched fructose by separating the syrup into bands as it moves through a column of resin beads. In addition, Dow adsorbent replaces or supplements activated carbon systems, removing impurities that cause off colors or bad flavors. How Ion Exchange Resins Work Ion exchange resins are charged to remove unwanted ions from the syrup stream. This is an exact science that involves controlling bead size, porosity, polymer cross-link, and other qualities that control how well the resin purifies syrup. Ion exchange resins work by exchanging one type of ion for another that has a greater attraction to active sites on the polymer chain. For example, DOWEX 88 strong acid cation resin is initially loaded with positive hydrogen ions. When syrup is pumped through a resin bed, the resin will exchange its hydrogen ions for less desirable cations like calcium, sodium, magnesium, and potassium. All of these elements occur naturally in syrup, but are detrimental to its flavor. Because resins are porous, ion exchange takes place within the beads and on the surface as the syrup stream moves through resin. Deashing resins are called macroporous beads because of the relatively large pores that allow syrup components to move freely through the beads for efficient ion exchange. The Dow Liquid Separations business is part of the Dow Specialty Chemicals business. Dow is a leading science and technology company that provides chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services to many essential consumer markets. With annual sales of $19 billion, Dow serves customers in 162 countries and a wide range of markets that are vital to human progress, including food, transportation, health and medicine, personal and home care, and building and construction, among others. Committed to the principles of sustainable development, Dow and its 39,000 employees seek to balance economic, environmental and social responsibilities.

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