Miraculin: the miraculous sweetener that will surprise you

Miraculin: the miraculous sweetener that will surprise you

Imagine a fruit that that turn acid or bitter food into sweet. Now imagine a sweetener with this same function. The fruit goes by the name of miraculin, or the miracle fruit. Are you curious? Check here this novelty.

Miraculin (Synsepalum dulcificum) is also known as miracle fruit thanks to its property of “sweeten” the sour and bitter flavors. It is originally from West Africa, has the size of a grape and a lightly sour flavor. Its effect lasts between 30 minutes to 2 hours.  Calm down, the fruit doesn’t change the taste of food, it only neutralizes the acidity and bitterness of them.

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The fruit itself is not new, it’s just unknown outside its original habitat. This is changing due to several companies interested in its properties. Currently she is sold as a dietary supplement or just as acid neutralizer pill which in itself does not have great utility. Miraculin is a protein that binds to receptors in the tongue causing foods eaten then are perceived as sweet.

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But after all, why is miraculin sweetener so little known? Because the substance is quite expensive, the plant takes long to grow and just 1 in 4 plants produces the fruit. This is where the North American startup MiraculeX enters. Its founder, the biologist Alan Pearlstein was looking for something to help her grandmother, in cancer treatment, to enjoy the taste of food again, since her palate was affected due to the effects of chemotherapy. He found in the fruit of the miracle the solution and is now dedicated to its production. The company inserts the protein DNA in common lettuce, transforming them into a “miraculin factory”. In 1 week the hydroponic lettuce is harvested and then ground, generating the sweetener.

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The price is still high, $0.32 per serving, but the company hopes to reduce this cost in the coming years. As they are still awaiting FDA approval, MiraculeX expects the beginning of the sales on the coming year on their own or in partnership with the multinational Nestlé. We’ve waited anxiously!

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