USA – American biotechnology company Conagen has unveiled two high-intensity sweeteners that are reportedly “100,00 times sweeter than sugar”.
The products thaumatin I and thaumatin II are made from Thaumatin which is a group of proteins found in the fruits of the tropical plant Thaumatococcus danielli.
Both proteins have been evaluated as 100,000 times sweeter than sugar on a molar basis and 3,000 times sweeter on a weight basis.
They however have sweetness profiles that vary slightly, according to a statement from the US based biotechnology company.
“Conagen constantly improves its protein and peptide production platforms to generate new products,” remarks Casey Lippmeier, vice president of innovation at Conagen.
“In this case, the platform has been leveraged to make thaumatin by several innovative approaches, but under a significantly shorter R&D timeline.”
The thaumatin proteins were developed from Conagen’s peptide production platform, which Sweegen had previously used to scale the production of another peptide sweetener, brazzein.
Like most other proteins, when thaumatin proteins are consumed, they are digested into amino acids.
However, because thaumatin communicates such a strong sweet taste, the levels used in most applications contribute almost no calories.
Their introduction is expected to be a game-changer in zero-foods as health-conscious consumers are generally more accepting of natural sweeteners than sugar and artificial sweeteners, Conagen underscores.
Being low on the glycemic index, thaumatin can complement a number of consumer lifestyles, such as diabetic, ketogenic or low-to-no carbohydrate diets.
“Thaumatin is the second product generated from our peptide platform to be announced. It fits well into our existing world-scale, precision fermentation infrastructure,” says Lippmeier.
Regulatory approval for thaumatin as a natural sweetener has passed in the EU(E957), Israel and Japan while in the US, it is generally recognized as safe as a flavoring agent (FEMA GRAS 3732).
Ocean Spray previously partnered with Amai Proteins to roll out a cranberry juice that features roughly 40% less sugar with the “hyper-sweet designer protein.”
Other novel sugar reduction solutions rolled out this year include chewing gum that blocks sugar receptors on the tongue, a plant-based “botanical sugar” and yogurt cultures that influence sweetness perception.
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