Glucose Syrup: A Short History
The history of sugar alcohols goes back to the late 1800’s when a chemist named William Henry Perkin developed a process called “synthesis” which was used to produce cheap ethanol from corn. By the early 1900’s, the United States had become dependent on this cheap energy source.
The government began requiring that all fuel sold in America contain less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). This requirement caused many distilleries to stop making spirits and begin producing beer instead. However, it wasn’t until Prohibition came into effect in 1920 that the government really cracked down on alcohol production. With no longer being able to sell their products legally, these businesses were forced to close or move overseas where they could continue selling their products without any problems. These businesses included moonshiners who would turn corn into ethanol using a process known as “mashing”. While this process was technically legal, it still violated the law and thus led to a lot of violence.
As prohibition ended, many moonshiners returned home with large amounts of money. They then bought up breweries and other alcohol producers.
The result was a massive increase in alcohol consumption across the country. People started drinking more than ever before, but they didn’t realize how dangerous their habit had gotten due to the fact that there weren’t any laws against it anymore! During this time, the government didn’t want to deal with alcohol abuse and instead chose to focus on other issues. They were so determined to ignore the problem that it would take years before they finally stepped in. The first law prohibiting alcohol on the federal level didn’t come into effect until 1936.
The damage had been done though, and people were starting to complain about how much they were drinking. They had been drinking without limit for so long that they didn’t know when to stop.
Since alcohol is a poison to the human body, drinking too much can lead to death, but the problem was a lot worse than that. Most of the time when someone drinks too much, they get what’s known as “alcohol poisoning”. This is when the alcohol in one’s blood stream becomes toxic to the point that it disrupts basic bodily functions. This is a very serious condition and in most cases can lead to death. In addition, alcoholics have a much higher risk of developing liver disease or getting cancer.
There are several factors that contribute to someone becoming an alcoholic, but the main reason is that they simply enjoy the process of getting drunk. It makes them feel good and changes their mood in some way.
The only problem is that drinking too much will kill you. There’s no debate about it, it simply will. Once again, the government waited too long to do anything about it and by the time they did, it was too late. Alcohol kills more people each year than anything else, more than guns or cars. In fact, alcohol is involved in half of all driving fatalities! It’s a countrywide epidemic that is getting worse with each passing year…
The year is now 2013 and the government has stepped in to do something about the alcohol problem. They have imposed several restrictions on the amount of alcohol that can be sold each year, as well as who can buy it.
You would think that these restrictions would deter people from buying alcohol, but they haven’t. Instead it has created a black market for alcohol smuggling. Many people partake in this illegal activity, all in the pursuit of getting drunk as quickly and easily as possible. Alcohol smuggling has become a national epidemic.
Around this time, you’ve just graduated from the best alcohol prevention program the country has to offer. It is a rigorous three year program designed to educate people about alcohol, signs of abuse, and how to prevent it all from happening.
You, like everyone else in your program, will be assigned to an area where alcohol related deaths are the highest and whose goal will be to educate people on what alcoholism is and how to prevent it. You are assigned to an area called Progress Island.
You’ve heard of the place before and it’s reputation isn’t very good. It is an island located in the middle of Lake Erie that suffers from a lot of alcohol related deaths.
Though your job assignment puzzles you, as the rest of your graduating class has been assigned to places with high crime rates or not?
You aren’t sure, but you don’t have time to think about it now. The bus you will be taking to the airport leaves in an hour and you need to pack.
You quickly gather all the stuff you think you’ll need for your assignment and shove it in your already full suitcase. You look around your one-bedroom apartment that you’ve lived in for the past seven years.
You are able to fit everything you own in just one suitcase, and it suddenly makes you realize how little you’ve done throughout your life. Though you’re in no position to start changing that now since you have to be at the airport in an hour.
After what seems like the longest bus ride of your life, you finally arrive at the airport. You realize that you are going to be very late for your flight to Progress Island when you see the line to get through security.
You’ve never seen it this bad before, there has to be at least one hundred people in line. You sigh heavily and get in line.
You finally board the plane, twenty minutes after your flight was scheduled to leave. You sit next to a man in a business suit who has dark skin and is holding a cup of coffee.
He strikes up a conversation with you, or rather lectures you. “I have to say I am very disappointed in your generation,” he starts off by saying. You’re immediately on the defensive even though you don’t really know this man at all. “I can’t believe how entitled you all act. You’ve been given the greatest gift in life, free will to choose whatever you want to do, but you waste it doing nothing.” He takes a sip of his coffee before continuing. “Just think, the entire time you’ve been alive, you’ve had the ability to do anything that you could ever want. But not one thing have you done, and that is a tragedy.”
He looks at you as if expecting a response and all you can muster is “Huh? I don’t even know you, why are you talking to me?”
He chuckles to himself and says, “You’re right you don’t know me, but I am an alumnus of your high school. And I have to say when I was there, I was a lot like you. I didn’t do much either.” He sips his coffee again and sniffs it before he continues. “But after I graduated, I realized that I was one of the lucky ones. See I was actually able to get a job in this struggling economy.
And what did I do with my first paycheck?
I paid off my parents’ mortgage. I felt so guilty for all the trouble I had caused them that I wanted to relieve them of their financial burden.
And then when I paid it off, do you know what I did?”
“No…” you manage to utter out of confusion and curiosity.
“I paid off my friend’s mortgage. See, I knew this young man who was struggling to pay for his first house and I knew he would make good use of the money, so I gave it to him as a gift.” He finishes the final bit of his coffee and looks at you again.
Why don’t you tell me the last time you did something like that?”
“Uh…” is all you can say. You’re beginning to feel very uncomfortable from this conversation.
“I’ll wait…” he says.
You stare at him in silence before he says his final piece. “You’re wasting your life…and that is an even bigger tragedy.
Do something with your life before it’s too late.
Sources & references used in this article:
A novel debranching enzyme for application in the glucose syrup industry by BE Norman – Starch‐Stärke, 1982 – Wiley Online Library
The effects of intraruminal infusions of urea, casein, glucose syrup and a mixture of casein and glucose syrup on nitrogen digestion in the rumen of cattle receiving … by JA Rooke, NH Lee, DG Armstrong – British Journal of Nutrition, 1987 – cambridge.org
Laboratory scale production of glucose syrup by the enzymatic hydrolysis of starch made from maize, millet and sorghum by A Zainab, S Modu, AS Falmata, A Maisaratu – Biokemistri, 2011 – ajol.info
A model for continuous enzymatic saccharification of cellulose with simultaneous removal of glucose syrup by TK Ghose, JA Kostick – Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 1970 – Wiley Online Library
Stabilization of oils by microencapsulation with heated protein‐glucose syrup mixtures by JK Rusli, L Sanguansri… – Journal of the American …, 2006 – Wiley Online Library