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New Berry-Based Natural Sweetener "Brazzein" to Hit the Market in 2009

Monday, December 22, 2008
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: brazzein, natural sweeteners, health news

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(NaturalNews) We've all heard about stevia, agave nectar, brown rice syrup and other natural sweeteners, but now a new sweetener derived from a West African berry has been successfully synthesized in a form compatible with mass production, and the company Natur Research Ingredients expects to make it commercially available between late 2008 and mid-2009.

The sweetener brazzein, to be marketed under the brand name Cweet, is a protein derived from the berry of the west African plant oubli (Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon). It has long been used as a food source by both humans and animals (particularly apes) in the region, and was first synthesized into a sugar alternative in 1994 by researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Because brazzein is anywhere from 500 to 2,000 times as sweet as sugar by weight, the small amounts needed to sweeten food do not add any significant caloric content (stevia, by comparison, is approximately 300 times as sweet as sugar). Unlike many sugar alternatives, brazzein is said to have no aftertaste, and can even reduce the aftertaste of other non-sugar sweeteners such as aspartame or stevia when mixed with them. Brazzein's sweet flavor also sets in slower and lasts longer than other sweeteners.

Brazzein is also soluble in water and stable at high temperatures and a wide range of acidities. For example, it can persist at 98 degrees Celsius (208 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to two hours. According to Natur, this makes the products suitable for all forms of cooking, including baking, and as a beverage sweetener. Because brazzein is a protein and not a carbohydrate, it does not affect blood sugar and is safe for diabetics.

Natur acquired the sole rights to manufacture and distribute brazzein from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, which holds a number of patents on the sweetener and the processes used to manufacture it. Although the university has sought ways to commercialize the sweetener since the 1990s, all such prior attempts have failed. According to Natur, a researcher from the university recently discovered an entirely new process that is suitable for mass production.

"Cweet represents a whole new breakthrough with the ingredient," said Loren Miles, Natur's chief executive officer.

A truly natural sweetener

Because the University of Wisconsin used an artificial process to extract the brazzein sweetener from oubli berries, it was able to obtain patents over the sweetener itself. No credit was given or payment made to the indigenous Africans who had used the sweetener for centuries, drawing accusations that the university had engaged in "biopiracy," stealing ancestral knowledge for private profit. The university retains several patents over the ingredient brazzein.

In a reversal of the university's claim that brazzein is an invented ingredient, Natur says that its sweetener is natural. It has not yet disclosed information regarding the process used to extract the sweetener or any synthetic ingredients that might be used.

"We are using the fruit as a source material for this ingredient," Miles said. "Within three to six months we should be ready to publicly announce further details, but we can disclose this information now to interested parties through a confidentiality agreement."

The next step for Natur is to scale-up production and submit an application to the FDA for "generally recognized as safe" status. Natur says that it expects to receive approval at about the same time it is carrying out consumer tests. But the FDA's GRAS approval is not guaranteed: The FDA is known for denying GRAS status to natural sweeteners (like stevia, which was finally approved only days ago) in order to protect the profits of artificial chemical sweeteners like aspartame. Through a campaign of misinformation, censorship, and tyranny tactics like ordering the destruction of recipe books, the FDA has so far kept stevia out of foods and beverages, thereby protecting the powerful corporations that manufacture and market aspartame (an artificial chemical substance known as an excitotoxin).

According to Miles, Natur has been "quietly discussing" brazzein with a number of major beverage and food companies for the past three months in preparation for FDA approval, and those companies have expressed interest in using the sweetener.

In addition to FDA approval, Natur is seeking approval for brazzein with regulatory bodies around the world. Miles says that the product will probably first be commercially available in whatever country approves it first. Within a few months, Natur expects to announce a partnership with a manufacturing company that will help in the commercialization process.

If all goes well -- and the FDA regulatory blockade against natural sweeteners can be overcome -- we may all soon have access to a new natural sweetener derived from a berry.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

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