Curculin is a natural sweetener with very unique properties. Like Miraculin it can alter taste perception and make sour foods taste sweet.
But unlike Miraculin it has a sweet taste on it's own. It is about 500 times as sweet as sugar. It is a protein from the fruit of Curculigo latifolia from Malaysia.
It is believed to affect the taste buds in two different ways: One is to register as a molecule on the receptors that identify sweetness. The other is to attach to the sour receptor buds and alter the signal to sweet. Unlike Miraculin this effect lasts about 10 minutes rather than up to one hour.
It has not achieved significant use yet, though research has been done and significant potential exists. It is not heat stable and consequently may have limited use in food production etc.
It has the potential to make unpleasant tasting substances, such as medicine, palatable. Cancer patients undergoing Chemotherapy can sometimes experience the unpleasant side effect of food tasting metallic. Miraculin has been used, with some success, to relieve this side effect, however it does not work in every case. Curculin could be investigated as a possible alternative.
No known concerns yet. Has been used as a sweetener in Japan for some time. However use has been limited so is is early to draw confident conclusions. Most likely however it is safe as it is a natural protein.
It comes from the fruit of Curculigo latifolia from Malaysia.
Not yet available in any significant commercial way.
Like Miraculin it alters taste perception and makes sour foods, such as lemon or vinegar, taste sweet. But unlike Miraculin it also makes ordinary water taste sweet. This could give it unique value used in certain applications as a sweetener. It was discovered and it protein described in 1990.
Has been approved in Japan. Not yet applied for in other countries.
Conclusions and Summary:
Very unusual natural substance. Not yet widely used, and it is scarce and expensive to produce. However it's unique properties are likely to find specific use in the future, perhaps in the healthcare industry. It is suitable for diabetics and it is harmless to teeth.
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