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How a protein could become the next big sweetener

Date:
August 17, 2016
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
High-fructose corn syrup and sugar are on the outs with calorie-wary consumers. As a result, low- and no-calorie alternatives have become popular, and soon, there could be another option that tastes more sugar-like than other substitutes. Scientists report a step toward commercial production of a fruit protein called brazzein that is far sweeter than sugar -- and has fewer calories.
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High-fructose corn syrup and sugar are on the outs with calorie-wary consumers. As a result, low- and no-calorie alternatives have become popular, and soon, there could be another option that tastes more sugar-like than other substitutes. Scientists report in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry a step toward commercial production of a fruit protein called brazzein that is far sweeter than sugar -- and has fewer calories.

Brazzein first attracted attention as a potential sugar substitute years ago. Making it in large amounts, however, has been challenging. Purifying it from the West African fruit that produces it naturally would be difficult on a commercial scale, and efforts to engineer microorganisms to make the protein have so far yielded a not-so-sweet version in low quantities. Kwang-Hoon Kong and colleagues are working on a new approach using yeast to churn out brazzein.

Working with Kluyveromyces lactis, the researchers coaxed the yeast to overproduce two proteins that are essential for assembling brazzein. By doing so, the team made 2.6 times more brazzein than they had before with the same organism. A panel of tasters found that the protein produced by this approach was more than 2,000 times sweeter than sugar.


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Journal Reference:

  1. Cho-Rong Yun, Ji-Na Kong, Ju-Hee Chung, Myung-Chul Kim, Kwang-Hoon Kong. Improved Secretory Production of the Sweet-Tasting Protein, Brazzein, inKluyveromyces lactis. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2016; 64 (32): 6312 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b02446

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "How a protein could become the next big sweetener." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160817131656.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2016, August 17). How a protein could become the next big sweetener. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160817131656.htm
American Chemical Society. "How a protein could become the next big sweetener." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160817131656.htm (accessed May 8, 2017).