A UF/IFAS researcher team found multiple natural sweeteners in citrus which have potential as artificial sweeteners.

The health benefits of orange juice and other citrus products are numerous, but many consumers are looking for food and beverage items with lower sugar content and fewer calories, but without the aftertaste inherent in many artificial sweeteners. A UF/IFAS team of researchers led by associate professor of food science, Yu Wang, may have found just the thing after identifying several natural sweeteners in citrus, according to a UF/IFAS blog. See the details below.

Natural Sweeteners in Citrus

According to the blog, Wang managed a “multi-year project that found eight new sweetener or sweetness-enhancing compounds in 11 citrus cultivars.” The possibilities for Florida citrus growers are promising if natural sweeteners in citrus are approved as a sugar substitute. “We were able to identify a natural source for an artificial sweetener, oxime V, that had never been identified from any natural source previously. This creates expanded opportunities for citrus growers and for breeding cultivars to be selected to obtain high yields of sweetener compounds,” Wang said.

The blog maintains that “to date, only six synthetic and two natural sweeteners/sweetness enhancers have been created and used by the food industry that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” The team’s findings could offer a host of natural sweeteners/sweetness enhancers for the food and beverage industry to use to replace sugar.

The research was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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