Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are on the outs with calorie-wary consumers. Because of this, the low and no-calorie alternatives have become popular, and there just might be another option coming that tastes more sugar-like than other substitutes. It has been reported by scientists in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they are a step closer to commercial production of a fruit protein called brazzein, which is far sweeter than sugar and has fewer calories.
This protein first got attention as a potential sugar substitute years ago, however, making it in large amounts has been challenging. It would be difficult on a commercial scale to purify it from the West African fruit that produces it naturally. The efforts to engineer microorganisms to make the protein have yielded a not-so-sweet version in low quantities. A new approach, using yeast to churn out brazzein, is presently being worked on by Kwang-Hoon Kong and colleagues.
The researchers, working with Kluyveromyces lactis, coaxed the yeast to overproduce two proteins that are essential for assembling brazzein. The team made 2.6 times more brazzein than they had before with the same organism. A group of tasters found that the protein produced by this approach was more than 2,000 times sweeter than sugar.
This research was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the Chung-Ang University Excellent Student Scholarship.
Until something better comes on the market, Stevia is still the best in my opinion. Its all natural and the original Stevia by the Sweetleaf company contains no chemicals.
-Dr Fredda Branyon