Good Thinking

Brazzein boost could pave way for next super sweetener

Brazzein boost could pave way ...
Brazzein is claimed to be over 2,000 times sweeter than  sugar
Brazzein is claimed to be over 2,000 times sweeter than  sugar
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Brazzein is claimed to be over 2,000 times sweeter than  sugar
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Brazzein is claimed to be over 2,000 times sweeter than  sugar

The perfect low and no-calorie sweeteners continue to be a holy grail, even with an abundance of corn syrup and sugar alternatives like Splenda, stevia and the much-maligned aspartame already on the market. Now scientists may have another, more sugar-like option called brazzein that comes from fruit.

Brazzein isn't actually new on the sweetener scene. It comes from the fruit of the West African Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon plant and has been recognized for its potential as a sugar substitute for many years. It has been held back, however, because it is difficult to produce in large amounts from its natural source.

There have been attempts to work around this by engineering microorganisms or genetically modified plants including corn to produce the brazzein protein, but most have resulted in small amounts or a less sweet version.

A new report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry outlines progress in developing a process that uses yeast and yields 2.6 times more of the sweetener over those previous attempts. Kwang-Hoon Kong of Chung-Ang University in Seoul, Korea and colleagues used a type of yeast named Kluyveromyces lactis, which they were able to get to produce excess proteins that are in turn needed for assembling brazzein.

Not only did the process more than double the yield of previous production attempts, but a panel of tasters also determined that the resulting sweetener was over 2,000 times sweeter than sugar.

The researchers see the method as having potential for mass production and eventual commercial use of a brazzein-based sweetener. They also believe that genetic modifications could be made in the yeast to increase the yield even further.

Source: American Chemical Society

4 comments
Tom Lee Mullins
I think this is interesting. As a diabetic, it would be neat to see how well it will do in foods.
ljaques
I sure wish these guys would stop genetically modifying foods we eat. I want a nice, natural sweetener which isn't sugar, because my body doesn't metabolize it well and it causes muscle ache. Bloody corn is another. Almost nothing in a package today _doesn't_ have GMO corn in it. It's causing allergies galore, too. Mom! Make 'em stooooooooooop!
windykites
Ijaques, have you heard of Erythritol? It is a sugar alcohol, naturally occuring, which is a very good sugar alternative. It is 70% as sweet as sucrose, is white crystalline, and has a good taste. It is better than Xylitol (from the same group), which can have a laxative effect. It is quite expensive at the moment, but if it becomes popular, hopefully the price may drop.
Edwin Austin
You should also look into Monk Fruit Sweetner.