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What is Pentadin? Exploring the Plants’ Sweet Taste Secret

Pentadin is a sweet-tasting protein that was discovered and isolated in 1989 from the fruit of Oubli (Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon), a climbing shrub native to some tropical countries in Africa. The fruit has been consumed by apes and natives for a long time due to its incredibly sweet taste, making pentadin an interesting compound to study for potential applications as a sugar substitute.

The unique sweetness properties of pentadin have sparked interest in investigating its extraction and isolation processes, as well as its molecular structure and weight, to better understand the protein and its potential uses. As the demand for healthier sugar alternatives grows, pentadin could play a significant role in the food and beverage industries, subject to regulation and safety measures.

Key Takeaways

  • Pentadin is a sweet-tasting protein discovered in the fruit of Oubli (Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon) in Africa.
  • The protein’s sweet taste draws attention to extraction methods and potential applications as a sugar substitute.
  • Future research on pentadin will focus on its molecular structure, health benefits, and potential use in the food and beverage industries.
Wildeman, E. de, died 24 July 1947 see Wildeman, E. de (Emile) 1866-1947, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wildeman, E. de, died 24 July 1947 see Wildeman, E. de (Emile) 1866-1947, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Pentadin Sources

Pentadin is a sweet-tasting protein discovered and isolated in 1989. Its primary source is the fruit of a climbing shrub called Pentadiplandra brazzeana. This plant is native to several tropical countries in Africa, where it has been consumed by both apes and locals for many years.

The berries of Pentadiplandra brazzeana are known for their incredible sweetness, which can be attributed to the presence of pentadin. This protein can also be extracted and used as a natural sweetener. Due to its sugar-mimicking properties, pentadin has the potential to serve as a healthier alternative to traditional sugars and artificial sweeteners.

To obtain pentadin, the fruit pulp of Pentadiplandra brazzeana is subjected to water extraction and purification processes. This results in a concentrated form of the sweet-tasting protein, ready for various applications in the food and beverage industry.

In summary, pentadin is sourced from the fruit of the climbing shrub Pentadiplandra brazzeana, which is native to tropical countries in Africa. Its remarkable sweetness makes it a promising candidate for use as a natural sugar substitute.

Sweetness Properties

Pentadin is a sweet-tasting protein found in the pulp of the African plant Pentadiplandra brazzeana. With a molecular weight of approximately 12 kDa, it has been reported to be 500 times sweeter than sucrose on a weight basis. Its sweetness has a slow onset and decline, making it an ideal candidate for use as a natural sweetener.

Comparison to Other Sweet Proteins

While Pentadin is known for its intense sweetness, there are other proteins that also possess sweetness properties, such as monellin and thaumatin.

Monellin is another sweet protein, derived from the fruit of the African plant Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii. Monellin has a sweetness profile similar to pentadin, offering a slow onset and lingering sweetness. Monellin is typically less sweet than thaumatin but has a faster sweetness onset.

Thaumatin is a sweet protein found in the West African katemfe fruit. It is known to be one of the sweetest natural proteins, at 100,000 times sweeter than sucrose by weight. Thaumatin possesses a different sweetness profile as compared to pentadin and monellin, with a slightly delayed onset and a long-lasting sweet aftertaste.

ProteinSourceSweetness (relative to sucrose)Sweetness profile
PentadinPentadiplandra brazzeana500xSlow onset, slow decline
MonellinDioscoreophyllum cumminsii1,000-3,000xSlow onset, lingering
ThaumatinThaumatococcus daniellii (katemfe)100,000xDelayed onset, long-lasting

In conclusion, pentadin has unique sweetness properties that differentiate it from other sweet proteins, such as monellin and thaumatin. Its relatively high sweetness intensity and slow onset, slow decline profile make it an interesting option for use as a natural sweetener.

Extraction and Isolation

Pentadin, a sweet-tasting protein, is found in the fruit of Oubli plant (Pentadiplandra brazzeana), native to some tropical African countries. The sweet principle of this protein was first discovered and isolated in 1989. The fruit has a long history of being consumed by both apes and local populations due to its incredibly sweet taste.

The isolation of pentadin involves a series of procedures, starting with water extraction. An aqueous extract is obtained from the pulp of the Pentadiplandra brazzeana plant, resulting in a strong sweet-tasting material. The water extraction technique helps in separating the desired sweet principle from the plant material.

Following water extraction, ultrafiltration is employed to further purify and remove any impurities from the extract. Ultrafiltration functions as a pressure-driven purification method that relies on a semipermeable membrane to separate components based on their size and shape.

Gel filtration, also known as size-exclusion chromatography, is the next step in the isolation process. This technique is used to separate large molecules from smaller ones, depending on their molecular weight and size. In the case of pentadin, gel filtration helps in isolating the sweet protein from other compounds present in the extract.

After successfully isolating the sweet principle, researchers determined that the substance must have a proteinaceous nature. This conclusion was drawn based on various factors, such as amino acid analysis, characteristic UV-absorption spectrum, and a positive color reaction with Coomassie brilliant blue. Amino acid analysis revealed that pentadin is a small protein composed of 54 amino acids.

In summary, the extraction and isolation of pentadin involve a combination of water extraction, ultrafiltration, and gel filtration techniques. The substance’s proteinaceous nature was determined through amino acid analysis, UV-absorption spectrum analysis, and positive color reactions with specific dyes.

Structure and Molecular Weight

Pentadin is a sweet-tasting protein found in the fruit of the West African Oubli plant (Pentadiplandra brazzeana). Its molecular weight is estimated to be around 12 kDa. The protein’s sweetness is reported to be 500 times greater than sucrose on a weight basis, with its sweetness having a slow onset and decline similar to monellin and thaumatin.

Brazzein, another sweet-tasting protein discovered in the same plant, has a smaller size and molecular weight, at 6.5 kDa. It consists of 54 amino acid residues and is believed to be the smallest of the sweet proteins. The amino acid sequence of brazzein is QDKCKKVYEN YPVSKCQLAN QCNYDCKLDK HARSGECFYD EKRNLQCICD YCEY.

The structure of these proteins is influenced by disulfide bonds, which help maintain their integrity and functionality. The presence of these disulfide bonds indicates that both pentadin and brazzein may share similarities with defensin-like proteins in terms of structure. Defensin-like proteins are typically involved in immune defense mechanisms and exhibit antimicrobial activity.

In studies involving rhesus monkeys, pentadin and brazzein were found to activate different cellular pathways that are related to sweet taste perception. This further suggests that these proteins may elicit a sweet taste by binding to sweet taste receptors in the taste buds of animals, including primates, and potentially humans as well.

Overall, pentadin and brazzein are structurally and functionally unique proteins that have garnered significant interest from researchers due to their potential use as natural sweeteners. Further examination of their molecular structure and mechanisms of action may lead to novel applications in the food industry and contribute to our understanding of sweet taste perception in humans.

Health Benefits and Concerns

Pentadin is a sweet-tasting protein that was discovered in 1989 in the fruit of Oubli (Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon), a climbing shrub native to some tropical countries of Africa. It has been consumed by apes and the natives for a long time, and is often referred to as a natural low-calorie sweetener. This sweetness has caught researchers’ attention, as it may potentially benefit those with diabetes and obesity, as well as help combat non-communicable diseases.

As a natural low-calorie sweetener, pentadin has distinct advantages over artificial sweeteners and added sugars, especially for individuals with diabetes and those trying to control their weight. A reduced calorie intake is crucial for managing obesity, which is a risk factor for developing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and several other non-communicable diseases. Furthermore, being a natural source, pentadin could be seen as a potentially healthier alternative.

For diabetic individuals, using pentadin as a sweetener may help control blood sugar levels, primarily due to its low calorie content. Better blood sugar management is essential for insulin-regulated individuals with diabetes, as it can help prevent or delay the onset of various health complications associated with the disease, like heart or kidney problems.

However, as research into pentadin is still in its early stages, there are also potential concerns that must be considered. Future studies should explore possible side effects, interactions with medications or other substances, and any long-term effects of pentadin consumption. Additionally, researchers should investigate the optimal dosage and formulations for use as a sweetener, as well as the overall safety and efficacy of pentadin in both diabetic and non-diabetic populations.

In conclusion, pentadin holds promise as a natural low-calorie sweetener with potential benefits for diabetic individuals, obesity management, and reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases. However, further research is needed to fully understand the health benefits and concerns associated with its use.


Pentadin is a sweet-tasting protein found in the fruit of the Oubli plant (Pentadiplandra brazzeana), native to West Africa. The sweetness of pentadin is approximately 1500 times greater than that of sucrose, making it an intriguing candidate for various applications in food and beverage industries.

In the world of food technology, pentadin can serve as a natural sugar substitute with the potential to reduce the caloric content of products, while still providing sweetness and taste. This can be an alternative for those seeking healthier options or managing conditions like diabetes.

Moreover, unlike other sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose, pentadin is a protein rather than a synthetic compound. This makes it attractive from a consumer’s perspective, as it poses fewer risks and a more natural profile.

As yield is important for the commercial viability of pentadin, extraction from the fruit of the Oubli plant can be optimized. The technology could focus on water extraction methods, which have already shown promising results in isolating the sweet principle of the protein.

Given that the protein naturally occurs in fruits and berries, edible applications are quite extensive. Pentadin could be incorporated into beverages, desserts, confectioneries, dairy products, and a wide range of processed foods to enhance their sweetness without the calories or health concerns associated with other sweeteners.

Finally, the potential of pentadin extends beyond its sweetness to its cultural relevance. The native people of West Africa have long consumed the berries of the Pentadiplandra brazzeana plant for their incredible taste. Embracing this natural sweetener not only connects industries to an age-old tradition but also serves as a tribute to the culinary heritage of the region.

Hence, applications of pentadin in food and beverage technologies are exciting, offering a natural alternative to synthetic sweeteners and contributing positively to consumer health and cultural connections.

Synthetic and Natural Alternatives

Pentadin is a sweet-tasting protein discovered in 1989, found in the fruit of the Oubli plant (Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon), a climbing shrub native to some tropical African countries1. The fruit has been consumed by apes and locals for a long time due to its incredibly sweet taste.

In contrast to natural sweeteners like Pentadin, synthetic sweeteners have been developed to provide low-calorie alternatives to sugar. Some widely used artificial sweeteners include aspartame, neotame, alitame, advantame, and sodium cyclamate (SAC).

Aspartame (ASP), sold under brand names such as NutraSweet, is one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar and is used in a wide variety of food products, including beverages, chewing gum, and desserts.

Neotame is another synthetic sweetener that is 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar. It is chemically similar to aspartame but has a slightly different structure, making it more stable at high temperatures, thus suitable for both cooking and baking.

Alitame is a dipeptide sweetener that is about 2,000 times sweeter than sugar and offers advantages such as stability and low aftertaste. It has been used in several countries, but its approval process in the United States is still underway.

Advantame is a relatively new artificial sweetener, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014. It is 20,000 times sweeter than sugar and derived from aspartame but has a different chemical structure, resulting in a greater stability.

Sodium Cyclamate (SAC) is a popular artificial sweetener first discovered in 1937. It is 30-50 times sweeter than sugar, and although it is used widely in many countries, it remains banned in the US due to inconclusive evidence about its safety.

While Pentadin and other natural sweeteners like stevia are derived from plants, it is important to note that “natural” doesn’t always mean safer, healthier, or better. A person’s preference for natural products often involves various ideas, including the belief that such products offer health benefits2. However, it is essential to consider each substance’s individual properties, whether natural or synthetic, and to make informed decisions about their consumption based on scientific research and personal preferences.

Regulation and Safety Measures

Pentadin, a sweet-tasting protein, is found in the fruit of the Oubli plant (Pentadiplandra brazzeana), a native West African climbing shrub. Although Pentadin has not been extensively studied for its safety and potential use as a sweetener in food products, there are general safety measures and regulatory considerations to take into account when handling any substance intended for human consumption.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and quality of food products, including additives such as sweeteners. Before a new substance like Pentadin can be approved for use in the market, it must undergo rigorous testing and evaluation to determine its safety. This process may include assessment of the chemical, physical, and biological properties of the substance, as well as potential toxicological and allergenic effects.

In terms of quality and safety indicators, substances intended for human consumption should meet specific requirements related to purity, stability, and consistency. For new sweeteners such as Pentadin, these indicators can help establish the safety profile of the substance and provide guidance for its appropriate use in food products. Quality and safety indicators may include parameters such as the solubility, molecular weight, and sweetness potency of the substance, as well as potential interactions with other ingredients in the food matrix.

Chemical processes involved in the production, storage, and distribution of substances like Pentadin should also be carefully monitored and controlled to ensure their safety. It is crucial to employ appropriate methods to prevent contamination during synthesis, extraction, purification, and formulation of the substance. Additionally, the process of scaling up the production of sweetening proteins like Pentadin may require optimization of the involved chemical processes to achieve consistent yield, purity, and stability.

As research and development of Pentadin as a potential sweetener continue, it is essential to adhere to the necessary regulation and safety measures established by regulatory bodies such as the FDA. This approach will ensure that the potential commercialization of Pentadin as a sweetener in food products aligns with the overarching goal of ensuring public health and well-being.

Future Prospects

Pentadin is a protein known for its sweet-taste-modifying properties, and it has been receiving attention from researchers and industries alike. The future prospects of Pentadin center around its potential applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries, as well as the possibility of discovering new properties through protein engineering.

Protein engineering techniques can be employed to improve the thermal stability of Pentadin, making it more suitable for various applications. By altering its structure or amino acid composition, researchers can enhance its stability under different temperature conditions, which may lead to a wider range of uses in the food industry.

A systematic literature survey focusing on Pentadin can contribute to a better understanding of its properties, applications, and potential limitations, serving as a foundation for further research. This comprehensive review would also help to identify gaps in current knowledge and areas where new research may have the most significant impact.

Investigations into the metabolic profiles of Pentadin can reveal valuable insights into its potential interactions with other substances, as well as any potential side effects. This information would be crucial in assessing its suitability for various applications, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry where safety is a key concern.

To sum up, Pentadin holds promising future prospects, with potential applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries, among others. Protein engineering, systematic literature surveys, and insights into metabolic profiles will play important roles in its research and development. As our understanding of this fascinating protein continues to grow, there is no doubt that new opportunities and applications will emerge.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Pentadin related to the Oubli fruit?

Pentadin, a sweet-tasting protein, was discovered and isolated in 1989 in the fruit of Oubli (Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon), a climbing shrub growing in some tropical countries of Africa. The fruit has been consumed by the apes and the natives for a long time due to its incredible sweetness.

What are the similarities between Pentadin and Brazzein protein sweetener?

Both Pentadin and Brazzein are proteins extracted from the Oubli (Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon) fruit plant found in West Africa. They share the sweet taste characteristic that makes them potentially suitable as natural sugar alternatives, especially for low-calorie and sugar-free food products.

What are the characteristics of Pentadin compared to Thaumatin?

While Pentadin and Thaumatin are both sweet-tasting proteins, they come from different sources. Pentadin is extracted from the Oubli fruit, while Thaumatin is obtained from the Katemfe fruit (Thaumatococcus daniellii) found in West Africa. Both proteins are considered to have a much higher sweetness intensity compared to regular sugar, making them candidates for alternative sweeteners, specifically in low-calorie and sugar-free products.

Does Pentadin share any benefits with Katemfe fruit?

Although Pentadin is not derived from the Katemfe fruit, it shares some similarities with Thaumatin, the sweet-tasting protein found in Katemfe fruit. Both Pentadin and Thaumatin are natural sweeteners with a low glycemic index compared to traditional sugars, making them suitable alternatives to sugar in low-calorie diets and products.

How is Pentadin different from Curculin?

Pentadin and Curculin are both sweet-tasting proteins but are sourced from different plants. Pentadin comes from the Oubli fruit, while Curculin is derived from the fruit of Curculigo latifolia, a plant native to Malaysia. The properties of both proteins differ in terms of sweetness intensity and taste, with Curculin offering a unique sensation that makes sour foods taste sweet.

What role does Pentadin play in the Brazzein protein patent?

Although the search results do not provide specific information regarding Pentadin’s role in the Brazzein protein patent, it is plausible that its similarity to Brazzein as a sweet-tasting protein from the same Oubli fruit may indicate a potential use for patenting purposes, particularly in the development of natural sugar alternatives and sweeteners.


  1. Pentadin – Wikipedia

  2. Natural Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Safer, or Better | NCCIH