Holistic Approach along the production cycle of Stevia Rebaudiana plant cultivated in Greece, via combined application of innovative methods of Precision Agriculture and bitter aftertaste removal techniques




Sergios Papageorgiou


Operational Program Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, under the call RESEARCH – CREATE – INNOVATE

Methods used for production of stevia derived sweeteners without its characteristic bitter aftertaste are typically based on stevioside (SS) and Rebaudioside A (RBA) separation by means of complex procedures employing expensive equipment and toxic chemicals. Membrane processes could offer simpler, cheaper and friendlier alternative accomplishing clarification,purification, concentration and separation with the use of appropriate membranes. In such processes Microfiltration could remove chlorophyls, cell debris, proteins and high molecular weight organics etc wityout the use of toxic solvents replacing centrifugation and chelate clarification. Subsequent filtration steps could be replaced by ultrafiltration membranes that will remove lower molecular weight contaminant while a final Nanofiltration step using 200-400Da Molecular Weight Cut Off (MWCO) membranes can be employed to collect the 804 Da and 967 Da glucosides SS and RBA with the highest palatability characteristics. Within the framework of this proposal, a lab scale multistep membrane system will be designed and constructed, aiming to produce sweeteners from stevia rebaudiana extract with minimum bitter aftertaste and increased yield clarity and palatability characteristics. Based on the lab scale results, a medium scale pilot unit will be designed for the separation and purification of SS and RBA.

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