Hernandulcin: an intensely sweet compound discovered by review of ancient literature

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Science  25 Jan 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4685, pp. 417-419
DOI: 10.1126/science.3880922


Ancient Mexican botanical literature was systematically searched for new plant sources of intensely sweet substances. Lippia dulcis Trev., a sweet plant, emerged as a candidate for fractionation studies, and hernandulcin, a sesquiterpene, was isolated and judged by a human taste panel as more than 1000 times sweeter than sucrose. The structure of the sesquiterpene was determined spectroscopically and confirmed by chemical synthesis. Hernandulcin was nontoxic when administered orally to mice, and it did not induce bacterial mutation.