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article imagePlant protein set to be the next big sweetener

By Tim Sandle     Aug 22, 2016 in Health
Sweeteners are a popular alternative to sugar, especially for those dieting. Some sweeteners carry health risks and some don’t quite give the same sugary taste. In a breakthrough, scientists report on a new candidate.
Research into new sweeteners is being undertaken in depth in many chemistry laboratories around the world, in an attempt to stem the rise in obesity and to find alternative products to high-fructose corn syrup and sugar. The trick is finding something that tastes good, is ‘sweet’, and yet is low in calories. Chung-Ang University scientists think they have found the perfect chemical in a type of protein.
Sheila Wan (@FNITeam) "Commercial production of #fruitprotein brazzein that is sweeter than sugar with fewer calories."
The new sweetener is a fruit protein called brazzein. The protein has the advantage that it is far sweeter than sugar (up to 2000 times sweeter than sucrose), yet it has far fewer calories (around four calories per gram). Trials have revealed the suitability of the sweetener. The next step is to realize its production on a commercial scale.
Brazzein is an intensely sweet protein with high stability over a wide range of pH values and temperatures. The protein is traditionally derived from extracted from the fruit of the climbing plant Oubli (Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon). In food research tests the protein has an apparent a clean sweet taste, followed by a lingering aftertaste, and slight delay (longer than aspartame) in an equi-sweet solution.
Earlier attempts to harvest the protein have been with extraction process directly from fruit grown in West Africa. To do this on a large scale carries many difficulties. Too overcome this, the South Korean research group have looked towards using genetically modified bacteria to create the protein.
According to lead researcher Dr. Kwang-Hoon Kong a yeast called Kluyveromyces lactis is the perfect candidate. In building up for a large scale production run, the researchers have managed to increase production almost three-fold.
The research is published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The research paper is titled “Improved Secretory Production of the Sweet-Tasting Protein, Brazzein, in Kluyveromyces lactis.”
More about sweetner, Artificial, natural sweetner, Sugar, Obesity
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