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A ketohexose monosaccharide, (3S,4S,5R)-1,3,4,5,6-Pentahydroxy-hexan-2-one, with a chemical formula of C6H12O6, often found in dairy products, and has sweetness of 92% to sucrose


Monosaccharides are the simplest form of carbohydrates. They may be classified based on the number of constituent carbon atoms. For instance, hexose is a monosaccharide with six carbon atoms. They may also be classified based on the functional group present: aldose and ketose. Tagatose is one of the hexose monosaccharides and classified as a ketose.

Tagatose is a ketohexose with a chemical formula of C6H12O6. It has sweetness approximately 90% to sucrose. It gives energy value of about 2 kcal/g.

Naturally-occurring tagatose is found but only in small amounts in fruits, cacao, and dairy products. Commercially, tagatose is used as a sweetener. It is regarded as tooth-friendly and therefore it is used as an ingredient in certain dental products. Tagatose is artificially produced by initially hydrolyzing lactose to glucose and galactose. The galactose, in turn, is isomerized to D-tagatose through calcium hydroxide.

D-tagatose was found to increase HDL cholesterol levels. Similar to the mechanism employed by D-psicose, D-tagatose can suppress the postprandial blood glucose elevation.1

IUPAC name:

  • (3S,4S,5R)-1,3,4,5,6-Pentahydroxy-hexan-2-one

Chemical formula:

  • C6H12O6

See also:

1 Iida, T. & Okuma, K. (2013). Properties of Three rare Sugars D-psicose, D-allose, D-tagatose and Their Applications. J-STAGE, 13(9): 435-440. https://doi.org/10.5650/oleoscience.13.435