monellin


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monellin

A sweet protein produced by the African fruit serendipidy (Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii), which, like thaumatin, has a high affinity for sweet taste receptors, eliciting a sensation of sweetness that is 10 times greater than D-glucose on a molar basis. Monellin is a 94-residue heterodimeric carbohydrate-free protein with a 44-residue A chain and a 50-residue B chain linked by weak noncovalent bonds.
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Comparing the structure of brazzein, which is smaller and more rigid, to those of thaumatin and monellin may allow researchers to understand how all three bind to sweet taste receptors, he adds.
First isolated by scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia in 1972, monellin comes from a very sweet, orange-red berry native to West Africa.
Monellin accounts for up to 50 percent of the water-soluble proteins in the yeast, concentrations rivaling those in the berries themselves.
One problem with protein-based sweeteners such as monellin is that heat or acidic conditions cause them to break down, drastically limiting the kinds of foods to which they can be added.
Previous work by Sung-Hou Kim and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley showed that connecting the strands together at one end makes monellin much more stable without affecting its flavor.
Although it has the same sweetness as monellin, "thaumatin is very expensive," Kondo says.