Printer Friendly

How sweet a protein can be.

A reddish fruit sold in Nigerian markets has provided scientists with yet another supersweet protein. Ounce per ounce, this 52-amino-acid protein, called brazzein, provides 2,000 times the sweetness of sugar, reports Ding Ming, a biochemist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He and Wisconsin colleague GSran Hellekant isolated the protein from Pantadiplandra brazzeana, a vine plant that produces a fruit slightly bigger than a grape.

"The sugar [content] is not that high; we guess that the sweet protein plays the same role as sugar," says Ming. Sweetness may encourage animals to eat such fruits and help disperse seeds, he explains.

Brazzein's lysine-rich amino acid sequence bears little resemblance to those of other sweet proteins (SN: 5/19/90, p. 315), which tend to contain many more amino acids, says Ming. This protein also proves quite stable, surviving 98 degrees C temperatures for at least two hours and maintaining its sweetness in a wide range of acidic and alkaline solutions, the researchers report. Moreover, electrical recordings from taste nerves of primates reveal that the protein elicits a purely sweet sensation, with no aftertaste. The Wisconsin scientists have applied for a patent for the protein.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:recently isolated amino acid protein, brazzein, provides 2,000 times the sweetness of sugar
Author:Pennisi, Elizabeth
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 8, 1993
Words:193
Previous Article:There's no accounting for taste.
Next Article:Nocturnal risks for the eyes.
Topics:


Related Articles
Sweet and bitter: common origins?
'Marriage' makes sugary bands stay sweet.
Seismosaurus proteins: bone of contention.
Scientists examine the nature of the sweet tooth.
Yeast make berry sweet sugar substitute.
Protein's shape may give extra-sugary taste.
Alternative sweetener research advances.
Dry whey an alternative to gum arabic.
RNA world gets support as prelife scenario. (Science News of the week).

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters