Understanding consumption-related sucralose emissions — A conceptual approach combining substance-flow analysis with sampling analysis

I was part of a team headed by Tina-Simone Schmid Neset looking at emissions and sources of sucralose (a synthetic sweetener in food products) in Sweden. It was published in 2010 in the journal Science of The Total Environment.


This paper explores the potential of combining substance-flow modelling with water and wastewater sampling to trace consumption-related substances emitted through the urban wastewater. The method is exemplified on sucralose. Sucralose is a chemical sweetener that is 600 times sweeter than sucrose and has been on the European market since 2004. As a food additive, sucralose has recently increased in usage in a number of foods, such as soft drinks, dairy products, candy and several dietary products. In a field campaign, sucralose concentrations were measured in the inflow and outflow of the local wastewater treatment plant in Linköping, Sweden, as well as upstream and downstream of the receiving stream and in Lake Roxen. This allows the loads emitted from the city to be estimated. A method consisting of solid-phase extraction followed by liquid chromatography and high resolution mass spectrometry was used to quantify the sucralose in the collected surface and wastewater samples. To identify and quantify the sucralose sources, a consumption analysis of households including small business enterprises was conducted as well as an estimation of the emissions from the local food industry.

The application of a simple model including uncertainty and sensitivity analysis indicates that at present not one large source but rather several small sources contribute to the load coming from households, small business enterprises and industry. This is in contrast to the consumption pattern seen two years earlier, which was dominated by one product. The inflow to the wastewater treatment plant decreased significantly from other measurements made two years earlier. The study shows that the combination of substance-flow modelling with the analysis of the loads to the receiving waters helps us to understand consumption-related emissions.


Schmid Neset T.-S., Singer H., Longrée P., Bader, H.-P., Scheidegger, R., Wittmer, A., Andersson, J.C.M. (2010). Understanding consumption-related sucralose emissions – A conceptual approach combining substance-flow analysis with sampling analysis. Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 408, Iss. 16, pp. 3261-3269, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.04.003


The full article can be purchased from the journal.