Disaccharides are produced commercially by the incomplete hydrolysis of larger more complex polysaccharides ie. the hydrolysis process is halted prematurely rather than being taken to the final stage of being further split into glucose and the other components sugar/s. It can also be produced by combining 2 monosaccharide sugars by means of a condensation reaction to form disaccharide sugars. Microorganisms such as yeast produce enzymes that hydrolyze sucrose.

Lactose is another disaccharide (milk sugar) and is only found in milk from mammals. It is made up of 1 glucose sugar and 1 galactose sugar molecule. In the case of NZ and Australia it is the major source of commercially available spirits. It is easily hydrolyzed and has practically no sweet taste having a Relative Sweetness of 40. It is therefore very easy to combine with most spirit bases without changing the profile. To hydrolyse lactose you need the enzyme lactase which allows the feedstock to then be fermented by the common Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeasts. A principal source of lactase is the yeast Kluyveromyces fragilis which is more commonly used to ferment lactose directly to ethanol.

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