Journal of Food Engineering vol:103 issue:3 pages:285-293
In this paper the performance of a three stage process with commercial as well as tailor-made polyether-sulphone (PES) membranes for the purification of sweeteners from Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni was evaluated. Retentions of the sweeteners for a synthetic mixture and plant extract in combination with flux decline measurements indicated that, in contrast with the lab-made membranes, on most commercial membranes a foulant layer was formed that influenced the separation performance negatively. For the plant extract, the best commercial membrane (PW010) had a selectivity and flux similar to the best lab-made membrane (27% PES), but the lab-made membrane was preferred because it showed a slightly lower retention of the sweeteners, as desired. Starting from an extract purity of 11% with the overall process (microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration) a purity of 37% and a yield of 30% could be reached. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.