Dextrose anhydrous, also known as corn sugar, is the dehydrated form of D-glucose and comes in white crystalline powder. From a biochemical view point, dextrose anhydrous and glucose are essentially the same chemical product. Dextrose is by the stomach and used as energy, thus it is considered to have higher calorie count as compared to L-glucose. As such, it is widely used as source of metabolic energy and it is an important component in oral rehydration salts and intravenous (IV) fluid.
Dextrose anhydrous is synthesised from the complete hydrolysis of corn starch. A 2% corn starch solution is first prepared. Pancreatin, an enzyme, is added into the solution and brought to boil slowly under reflux. The solution will be boiled for 20 minutes before lowering and maintaining the temperature at around 40°C. The enzyme is added in controlled concentration to ensure optimal catalysis rate is obtained. Activation salts can be added to speed up the hydrolysis of corn starch. Refinement and crystallisation are then carried out before the final product, dextrose, is obtained. To obtain dextrose anhydrous, crystallisation is carried out at around 150°C. Since dextrose anhydrous is naturally occurring, it can also be synthesised biologically by pancreatin in the body, where pancreatin hydrolyses starch like potato starch and corn starch.
In pharmaceutical industry, dextrose anhydrous is the main component in oral rehydration salts and intravenous (IV) fluid as it can be metabolized easily to raise the blood sugar quickly in hypoglycemia patients. Dextrose anhydrous can also be used in patients with hyperkalemia to lower potassium levels.
In food industry, dextrose anhydrous is added into infant formula milk powder as a nutrient supplement. It is also used as sweetener in many food products. Dextrose anhydrous is sometimes into food products to extend the shelflife of the products.