Low cost approach for production of sweet proteins as sugar substitutes

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Abzyme Therapeutics, LLC
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


In a large portion of the population the strong desire to eat sweet foods is a major contributing factor leading to overweightness and obesity, and the concomitant predisposition to diabetes diseases. Low calorie sweeteners like Saccharin, Aspartame, Cyclamate and Acesulfame K are popular with patients affected by diseases caused by the consumption of sugar, e.g. diabetes, hyperlipemia, caries, obesity etc. Unfortunately, these sweeteners are linked to serious side effects such as psychological problems, mental disorders, bladder cancer, heart failure and brain tumors. Naturally occurring sweet and taste modifying proteins that are a thousand times sweeter than sucrose have been identified in several exotic fruits and are seen as potential replacements for the currently available artificial low calorie sweeteners. Hence, the project goal is to develop a low cost approach to produce a sweet protein. During phase I, probiotic yeast will be engineered for high yield production of either secreted protein or protein displayed on the yeast cell surface that are accessible to taste receptors. The sweetening activity of purified sweet protein and yeast with surface displayed sweet protein will be validated by a sensory panel. This work will be the foundation for full product development (Phase II) and eventual commercialization that will be completed within a 2-year period. The unique value proposition of the product lies in low cost production of heat stable sweet proteins by probiotic microorganism to replace sugar in sugary foods and drinks. The products will have a highly beneficial impact on the reduction of carbohydrate consumption without compromising the sweet taste. Sweet protein food additives will have great potential application in soft drinks and the food industry.