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When synthesized, sorbitol appears as a crystalline white powder. The major pathway of production is the glucose reduction reaction in which the aldehyde group is converted into an alcohol group. This reaction requires NADH and occurs in the presence of a catalyst – aldose reductase. Glucose reduction is a pathway of polyol production in glucose metabolism.
Figure 01: Chemical Structure of Sorbitol
There are several applications of sorbitol: as an artificial sweetener, as a laxative, as a bacterial culture media, in treating hyperkalaemia, in the manufacture of soft gel capsules, etc. Sorbitol is also useful in the cosmetic industry as a humectant and as a thickener. Besides, there are miscellaneous uses of sorbitol such as the manufacture of rocket fuel, production of biomass resources, etc.