The Science of Stevia
Stevia as the healthiest sweetener with many medicinal properties is a wonderful gift from nature. Its true potential was discovered by the ancient wisdom of a warrior race living in the rain forests of South America. Modern science brought the benefits of Stevia to the common people. Tireless works of countless scientists and technologists made the benefits of Stevia accessible to us. Now we have pretty standardized knowledge of the cultivation technique of Stevia, its extraction and purification process and application.
However, all the true scientific information are not easy to get. Specifically, the information pertaining to growing Stevia in commercial scale and its processing are not easily accessible to the persons interested to dig a little deeper. All the public domain information are often either too technical or confusing, enigmatic and myth-infested.
This website is an humble effort for demystification of science and technologies involved in cultivation and processing of Stevia, debunking of deliberately circulated myths and exposing scams.
I do not expect that all people reaching these web-pages will agree to my point of view or interpretation of events. I am most earnestly inviting their counter points and arguments….and I shall have no inhibition for publishing them in my website.
The objectives of this site is the demystification of
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A little about me
I am a learner of chemistry, biotechnology and process engineering.
I have been working for more than 18 years in stevia farming, post-harvest processing, extraction and formulation (retail and industrial).
I have planned and implemented green-field ventures, farm and production infrastructure designing, own technology development or outsourcing. Handled technical operations in large corporates.
My major R&D and technology development work areas are Extraction of steviol glycosides, Steviol glycoside based formulation development, Pharmaceutics, industrial biotechnology and fermentation technologies.
The earliest phase of my work career involved R&D on agricultural biotechnology and production of biofertilizers and biopesticides.
I am happy to announce that the construction of miniature steviol glycoside extraction set-up is completed successfully. We have adopted resin free extraction technology for this extraction system. In this process, the first crystallization yields TSG of 90% purity – which can be purified into TSG 95% and Reb A 98% by recrystallization. In our set-up, we used miniature versions of industrial equipment, as far as practicable. All the custom equipment are fabricated in our laboratory.
The technology is specifically suitable for small sized extraction unit. With this technology, the process economy is less dependent on the production scale. Small yet economically viable extraction units with processing capacity as low as 100 Kg dry leaves per day can also be built by adopting this technology.
The Stevia Buyback Scam
Liquid liquid counter-current extraction of steviol glycosides
In the small scale extraction process for steviol glycosides, leaves are first extracted with hot water and the liquid extract is subsequently processed to separate steviol glycoside from it. The liquid extract is clarified by either chemical- or electro-coagulation and filtering. Then the liquid is extracted with a water immiscible solvent. The solvent takes up the steviol glycoside from the water extract as the solvent has higher affinity towards the glycosides. In this process, basically, the extracting solvent is vigorously mixed with the water extract and then the mixture is allowed to stand, so that the two layers – water and the extracting solvent - separate. The extraction solvent is then decanted off from the mix. The process is repeated several times until the original water extract is almost free of steviol glycosides. The extraction solvent is now pooled together and evaporated to crystallize out the steviol glycoside.
Classically, there are several methods for solvent extraction. In laboratories and small lab scale systems, it is done as a batch process. The batch process is time consuming and the ratio of extraction solvent to the water extract is often very high.
One of the most efficient liquid-liquid extraction processes is counter-current extraction. It has several advantages. We have developed an optimized liquid-liquid extraction process for steviol glycosides. You can find more details about this process by clicking the button below.
Development of Stevia Sweetened Fruit Beverages
In my career in Stevia value addition chain, I met several persons who are dedicatedly and honestly working for development of this sector and upliftment of the economic conditions of the farmers. But, to our dismay, all their excellent work is being undone by a group of corrupt people who claim themselves as Stevia leaf buyback agents.
Recently, we succeeded in developing stevia sweetened fruit juice/pulp based natural drink concentrates. Several formulations have already been commercialized by two different companies. These formulations do not have any added sugar in them.
This is a new niche for application of stevia and deep sugar reduction. We are looking for organizations interested in commercialization of these novel products.
Stevia Conspiracy Theories !
Few days ago my good friend Mr. Richard Howes, Chief Innovation Manager, South African Cane Growers’ Association drew my attention to a webpage “Toxic Truth About Stevia”. I visited the webpage and was quite surprised to find some tedious piece of work deliberately aimed to spread misinformation about Stevia. Later I found that the content of that particular webpage has been replicated in several other websites. It was really perplexing and I felt real clueless about the motives of some people who take these extraordinary efforts to create planned confusion. The text in the webpage was full with examples of poor scientific knowledge, hearsay and distortion. At first, I thought that it will be more prudent to ignore this type of propaganda, because these people are trying to garner public attention by play-acting as controversialists. But, at the same time, I was concerned about the potential effect of these misinformation on unsuspecting people who may be scared off from stevia.
So, I invested some time to prepare a reply to scientifically refute their arguments. I shall be glad myself if anybody points to the deficiencies of my logic and counter-arguments. Read the complete story by clicking the following button.
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What I do
Dissemination of honest and scientific information about Stevia farming, extraction and formulation
Debunking of myths and false claims
Pursuing my own R&D program on Stevia technology
Providing end to end technical assistance for
Establishing stevia value addition chain for start-ups (from project report to commencement of production)
Putting unsuccessful and technically unsound projects back into work
Application of Steviol glycosides as main sweetening agent in food/beverages
Contract research on Stevia technology
What I don't do
Sell any planting material, seeds, live plants, fertilizers, manure, growth promoters etc.
Neither provide any buy-back guarantee of any sort myself nor recommend for any buyback agencies
Represent/recommend any other company/supplier for any stevia value addition chain related product or services.
Organize conducted tours at extraction facilities and farms.
Explain "Market Potential of Stevia" over telephone
Invitation for Collaboration
I am now looking forward to collaborate with overseas technology partners for technology dissemination. The objective for the collaboration will be –
Establishing local single window facilities for technical assistance to Stevia Start Ups
Jointly executing overseas turnkey project
Promotion of location specific appropriate technology
Assimilation of local home-grown technologies and their commercialization.
I am looking forward to establish long-term relationship based on mutual trust and simultaneous growth. If you are interested…….kindly drop a message.
The Stevia Crusaders’ Forum
Though the entire stevia sector is dominated by scamstars, promoters of pseudo- sciences and large multinational corporate Mafiosi, there are some lone warriors, who have been working for development of the science of stevia with utmost diligence. Often their works do not get noticed and sometime their spectacular successes are also deliberately suppressed if those are not compatible with the interests of the organized sector. I want to give a space to these unsung heroes, where they can showcase their achievements and enlighten us. We, most sincerely, want to learn from you…….