The aim of this study is to develop and optimise a method of sugar content determination in food products. Date juice (syrup) was used as a sample natural food resource for the analysis because of its potential usage as an alternative substrate for a variety of fermentation processes. Hence, qualifying and quantifying its sugar content is a crucial step. Therefore, gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) was used as a pre-qualitative method to identify the types of sugar in the date sample. The results demonstrate that the analysed date juice contains glucose, fructose and sucrose. This analysis was obtained by measuring the retention time of individual standard sugar samples such as glucose, fructose, mannose and sucrose. In addition, the mass spectra of the standard and date juice samples contained characteristic fragments of glucose, fructose and sucrose. Thus, GCMS results determined the appropriate enzymatic assays for quantifying the sugars in date juice. These results were similar to those of the two enzymatic methods (standard enzymatic assay and measuring the change in pH by CL10 analyser). Therefore, they confirmed the identified sugars and provided the sugar contents of the sample. Consequently, sugar quantification results indicate that 1 g of date juice sample contains a total of 0.5275⁻0.5507 g of six-carbon sugars (glucose + fructose) and 0.064⁻0.068 g of sucrose. As a consequence, the total sugar content in 1 g of date juice is 0.600⁻0.615 g. These results are comparable to the sample analysis that is provided by the date juice production company.
Keywords: date juice (syrup); enzymatic methods; gas chromatography mass spectrometry; sugar content in food; sugar quantification and qualification.