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New opportunities for sugar reduction? African arrowroot extract will become a edible flavor

Echemi 2021-04-20

Recently, the National Food Safety Risk Assessment Center publicly solicited opinions on a new variety of food spice-African arrowroot extract. After the opinion is passed, the African arrowroot extract will be used as a edible flavor in various products.

The main ingredient of African arrowroot extract is Thaumatin, which is a natural sweet protein that can be used as a sweetener in most beverages and solid beverages, processed nuts and seeds, baked goods, and dining tables. Used in sweeteners. And this consultation draft is expected to further promote the application of somatin in various foods and beverages. What new opportunities will this bring to the sugar reduction industry?


The sweetness mystery of Soma Sweet——

Not only can reduce sugar, but also increase flavor


Although aspartame, acesulfame K, sucralose, steviol glycosides and other zero-calorie high-intensity sweeteners can replace sucrose and provide sufficient "sweetness", they will differ to different degrees due to the large difference in sweetness curve from sucrose. It exhibits undesirable odors such as metallic taste and after-bitterness, weak taste, lack of sweetness and other problems, which will cause a certain loss in taste, aroma and mouthfeel. Greatly increase the difficulty of formulating sugar reduction formula. Therefore, sugar reduction in beverages is not only to remove sucrose, but how to improve the flavor and taste while reducing sugar is the key.


In 1968, scientists isolated a protein from the peel of African arrowroot, which was later named thaumatin, which initiated the research on natural sweet protein. The sweetness of thaumatin is about 2000 to 2500 times that of sucrose. It has a refreshing sweet taste, no peculiar smell, long duration, no calories, no blood sugar reaction, and can be absorbed and utilized normally by the intestine. Because it belongs to protein, the stability of thaumatin is average, but the sweetness is stable in the pH range of 2-10, heated below 100°C (or ultra-high temperature above 100°C instant sterilization), and it is stable to acid, so it can be applied extremely. Most food and beverage applications.

Of course, the significance of somatin is not only to sweeten foods. Its most valuable feature is that it can enhance and improve the flavor and taste of food and beverages. It can reduce the perception threshold of multiple flavors and achieve the effect of enhancing and prolonging flavor. , Mainly in the following three aspects:


1. For fruity beverages: balance the sweetness and sour ratio of the product and mask the bad aftertaste


The improvement of beverage sugar reduction formula will cause the problem of unbalanced sour and sweetness. Thomat can make the sour taste of the drink less irritating, harmonize the sweet-sour ratio, and make the overall flavor more harmonious and better. On the other hand, for beverages that use sweeteners as sugar-reducing formulas, thaumatin can also mask the undesirable flavors mixed with sweeteners, make the sweetness more pure and taste more refreshing. Therefore, thaumatin can be used in combination with other sweeteners, especially sucralose and steviol glycosides.


2. Used in vegetable protein beverages: to improve the flavor and create a delicate and smooth taste


Plant beverages often have unacceptable flavors, such as soy, bitter almonds, and astringent pea flavors. Because thaumatin is a natural protein in nature, it has a better "affinity" with plant proteins, which can better inhibit bitterness, improve unpleasant odors, and make the flavor of plant protein drinks more pure.


3. For milk-containing beverages: enhance the creamy aroma and make the taste fuller


In low-sugar and low-fat milk-containing beverages, as the fat is reduced, the rich milk flavor of the dairy product itself is also lost, and it always feels "less flavor" to drink. In fact, people’s perception of fat is located at the back of the tongue and throat, where thaumatin acts on the tongue. Thomat can therefore stimulate people's perception of the sixth taste-fat flavor, allowing low-fat milk drinks to burst out with a richer milk flavor.


Taste is a three-dimensional feeling. The sucrose and milk fat content in milk-containing beverages will affect the overall feeling of fullness. Less sucrose and lower fat content will make the taste of milk-containing beverages thinner and lighter, and even appear grainy and powdery, and lose the smooth and full taste. Thaumatin can enhance the fullness of low-fat milk-containing drinks without changing the texture of the drink itself, and achieve a richer taste enjoyment.


At present, thaumatin has been approved for use in most countries, and it can be used as a synergistic sweetener or flavor and fragrance, and thaumatin can be found in many products. After the draft is approved, the African arrowroot extract will be used as a flavor, not only is no longer restricted in the scope and amount of use, but also can be directly labeled as "food flavor", which is more in line with the trend of clean labeling.


More development and application of sweet protein

At present, domestic regulations only approve the use of somatin, a sweet protein, as a sweetener. In foreign countries, Miraculin, which is extracted from mysterious fruit, has become the focus of research and development in the field of sweet protein in recent years.


Unlike other sweet proteins, the mystery fruit protein itself does not have sweetness, but it allows people to taste the sweetness when tasting the originally unsweet acidic food. The higher the acidity, the sweeter it tastes. This feature belongs to one. A taste modification function. In addition, the mysterious fruit protein is easy to dissolve and is relatively thermally stable, so it is a very suitable flavoring agent for acidic food and beverages.


American food technology company Joywell Foods received a US$6.9 million Series A financing led by Evolv Ventures, a venture capital fund established by Kraft Heinz, last year. Joywell Foods uses the latest biotechnology to realize low-cost commercial production of mysterious fruit protein. Its production process does not use mysterious fruit plants, but uses ordinary lettuce to achieve mysterious fruit protein gene expression. The entire process takes less than a week. It can be harvested and processed afterwards. At present, the company has successfully applied mystery fruit protein in candy, pudding, yogurt and cereals.

Another Israeli biotechnology company, Amai Proteins, dedicated to the development of mysterious fruit protein, uses cloud computing-based protein design (AI-CPD) to re-encode the amino acid sequence of mysterious fruit protein to make it better in taste, yield, and stability (temperature, pH, fat) and other aspects are suitable for the mass food market. The new protein is propagated in the yeast culture medium and scaled up. After the yeast is filtered and purified, the final product is 100% mysterious fruit protein. Yeast is legally defined as a "processing aid", and the final product will not contain yeast. Therefore, this mysterious fruit protein is a non-GMO substance.


The American agricultural cooperative Ocean Spray and the Israeli biotechnology company Amai Proteins recently developed a low-sugar cranberry juice that uses the mysterious fruit protein produced by Amai Proteins to replace sugar, which can reduce the sugar content by at least 40%.


In addition to thaumatin and mystery fruit protein, the industry is very concerned about Monellin, Curculin, Mabinlin, Brazzein and Pentadin. Taste protein is also undergoing a series of research.

Compared with other sweeteners, the sweet protein, which belongs to protein and can be completely absorbed and metabolized, is safe and can improve the flavor of reduced-sugar foods while naturally sweetening. It is an ideal sugar-reducing formula. With the further improvement of its output and stability, the sweet protein represented by thaumatin is expected to show its talents in the field of sugar reduction.

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