Jan 1, 1976

Sweetening agents from natural sources

J A Morris


Sweetness is an important taste sensation to humans. The absence of suitable sweeteners as alternatives to cyclamates and saccharin has led to a renewed interest in sweeteners form natural sources. A brief review of the history of sweetener usage provides a basis for understanding our present heavy consumption of sweet substances. The structure of naturally-occurring compounds possessing a sweet taste range from simple sugars to complex, intensely sweet proteins. The structural types include monoterpenes, diterpenes, triterpenes, flavonoids, steroid saponins, dipeptides, and proteins. Some of these substances are not, strictly-speaking, natural but are derived from natural sources by relatively minor chemical modification. The properties of two non-sweet substances, miraculin and gymnemic acid, are included because of their close relationship to the subject of sweeteners. Miraculin causes sour substances to taste sweet and gymnemic acid selectively blocks sweet taste perception. The second part of the paper presents some of the work on monellin, the intensely sweet protein from "serendipity berries" (Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii). The physico-chemical studies of monellin provide convincing evidence that it is, indeed, a protein. ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Taste Sweet
Sugar Substitutes
Structure-Activity Relationship
Taste Perception
Resins, Plant
Gymnemic acid
Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii
Legume Pod

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