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Status: 23.07.2018 15:26:12

Mixing Artificial Sweeteners Inhibits Bitter Taste Receptors

Research highlight 14.09.2017

Blends of artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and cyclamate produce less of a bitter off-taste than each of the individual components, but the explanation for this puzzling phenomenon has been elusive ever since its discovery more than 60 years ago. A study published by the Department of Molecular Genetics solves this long-standing mystery, revealing that saccharin inhibits the activity of bitter taste receptors stimulated by cyclamate and, conversely, that cyclamate reduces the off-taste elicited by saccharin. The scientists were able to discover completely novel features of these molecules, namely their bitter-blocking ability. For the time being, it remains unclear whether the components of other sweetener blends also show mutual inhibition of bitter taste receptors. Once the activation and inhibition profiles of the 25 human bitter taste receptors have been investigated in great detail, our scientists hope that it will be possible to tailor the composition of mixtures to develop novel sweetener formulations and to improve the taste of medicine.

Reference: Behrens, M., Blank, K., Meyerhof, W.: Blends of non-caloric sweeteners saccharin and cyclamate show reduced off-taste due to TAS2R bitter receptor inhibition. Cell Chem. Biol. 24, 1199-1204.e2 (2017).

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