Vol. 24, No. 6
Science of Sweeteners
special topic issue of
Pure and Applied Chemistry, Vol. 74, No. 7, 2002
IUPAC, 2002. (ISBN 0-09678550-4-7)
recent Special Topic Issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry was
devoted to the "Science of Sweeteners." The issue derives
from the 2nd International Symposium on Sweeteners, which was held 13-17
November 2001 in Hiroshima, Japan under the auspices of IUPAC. (The
1st symposium was held July 1997 in Jerusalem, Israel.)
problems caused by the extensive use of sweeteners in the human diet
still persist. Ingestion of excessive high-calorie saccharides such
as sucrose, glucose, and fructose has been linked to dental caries,
diabetes, hyperlipidemia, obesity, and many dietary-dependent diseases.
Consequently, the development of safe, low-calorie, noncariogenic sweeteners
has been the focus of intense (and sometimes controversial) scientific,
commercial, and public interest.
of their tremendous potential commercial and medical benefits, compounds
from a variety of chemical categories have been investigated as "sugar
substitutes." Synthetic heterocyclic compounds, saccharides, halogenated
saccharides, sugar alcohols, plant glycosides (terpenoids, steroids,
and phenolics), peptides, and proteins have been examined.
representation of human taste qualities. Psychophysical studies
suggest that human taste sensation can be divided into five distinct
categories: amai (sweet), suppai (sour), shoppai (salty), nigai
(bitter) and umami (glutamate). Modified from the original silkscreen
by John Lennon. Figure reproduced from Margolskee, Pure
and Applied Chemistry
Vol. 74, No. 7, pp. 1125-1133 (2002)
on sweeteners encompasses a diverse set of scientific disciplines involving
physiology, molecular biology, synthetic chemistry, structural chemistry,
enzyme chemistry, food chemistry, pharmacology, nutritional science,
preventative medicine, and dental science. Because of this diversity
in research disciplines, it has been difficult for individual scientific
societies to comprehensively deal with sweeteners. Adding to the complexity
of the problem, legislation on the commercial use of sweeteners varies
from country to country. Therefore, there have been numerous national
symposia and scientific publications focusing on select aspects of sweeteners.
and purpose of this symposium was to bring together scientists and technologists
from a variety of disciplines from all over the world. The goal of this
diverse assembly was to allow the participants to get a comprehensive
perspective on sweetener research. Ultimately, it is hoped that this
will lead to new approaches and contribute to further progress on sweeteners.
was chronologically divided into four sessions. The first day concentrated
on the topics of chemoreception and biochemical aspects of receptors.
The second day was directed mainly toward naturally intense sweeteners,
including design and synthesis. The third day was spent on the topics
of oligosaccharides and sugar alcohols, and the last day was devoted
to the potential role of sweeteners in the etiology and prevention of
comprised 11 invited lectures, 20 symposium lectures, 10 contributed
papers, and 28 poster contributions. There were 181 participants from
21 countries. Ample time was provided for fruitful discussions of the
comprehensive science of sweeteners. Besides the main sponsor, IUPAC,
extensive support was obtained from the many sponsors as indicated in
the individual abstracts. This issue is the result of an invitation
to participants to submit for publication articles based on their presentations.
It reflects well the panorama of subjects covered in the symposium with
respect to both fundamental aspects and the importance of current and
new research on the development of sweeteners. The topics covered vary
from receptor studies to natural sweeteners to design and synthesis
of sweeteners to industrial applications.
was coordinated by professor J. Bull, IUPAC special topics editor and
professor Mugio Nishizawa, conference editor.
Preface by Kazuo Yamasaki, Symposium chairman, and Osamu Tanaka, Planning