Mannitol

Mannitol is a polyol (sugar alcohol) widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries because of its unique functional properties. Mannitol is the generic name for a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug used as an osmotic diuretic and a mild renal vasodilator. Mannitol is typically administered intravenously, but can also be taken orally, depending on the purpose. Intravenously, it is used to treat excessive intracranial pressure, oliguria, and to expand openings in the blood-brain barrier. Orally, mannitol is used a sweetening agent in confections for people with diabetes and, in higher concentrations, as a laxative for children. It is also used as an anti-caking & free flow agent. Mannitol is non-cariogenic and has a low caloric content. Mannitol occurs as an odorless, sweet-tasting, white, crystalline powder with a melting range of 165° - 168° and a pKa of 3.4. One gram is sol¬uble in about 5.5 ml of water (at 25°) and it is very slightly soluble in alcohol. It is an isomer of sorbitol and is typically produced today by the hydrogenation of specialty glucose syrups. Mannitol is commercially available in variety of powder and granular forms. Mannitol is used as the dust that coats chewing gum, where it keeps the gum from absorbing moisture and getting sticky. This is due to its humectant (moisture trapping) properties, and very low hydroscopicity (does not attract moisture from the air). Mannitol is mostly produced in parallel to the sorbitol production and in fact, it is a co-product along with sorbitol. While sorbitol production is followed from starch, mannitol can be produced using sugar as base material. Commercially, D-Mannitol is obtained by the reduction of invert sugar. Mannitol is not presently produced in the country. It is imported from outside. The demand growth rate is around 7 to 8% per annum. The present Indian demand was around 2100 tonnes per annum for the last year. Currently, there are over a dozen units engaged in manufacture of intravenous fluids in the country with combined capacity of more than 1000 million bottles per annum. The Indian demand for IV fluids is around 500 million bottles per annum. Coming to global demand it is around 60000 tonnes per annum. The demand for mannitol is likely to go up steadily in the coming years, in view of the expected growth of the healthcare. As there is no production of mannitol at present in India, there is an ample space for new entrepreneurs to venture into this sector.
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