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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.