Are the cyclodextrins sweet?

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A recent study surprisingly found that cyclodextrins are percepted by the sweet taste receptors [1].

Taste detection of cyclodextrins (α-, β-, and γ-CD) in the presence and absence of lactisole, a sweet receptor antagonist was tested.(A total of 27 subjects (18 females, 9 males) between 20 and 58 years of age (mean = 30 years old) were recruited from the Oregon State University campus.) It was found that subjects could detect the taste of cyclodextrins in aqueous solutions at a significant level (P < 0.05), but were not able to detect them in the presence of lactisole (P > 0.05). These findings suggest that the cyclodextrins, unlike their linear analogs, are ligands of the human sweet taste receptor, hT1R2/hT1R3.

Cyclodextrin used to be considered tasteless (at least compared to really sweet fructose, glucose and sucrose) [2,3] or slightly sweet [4].

[1] Martin LE, Lim J. Taste perception of cyclic oligosaccharides: α, β, and γ cyclodextrins. Chem Senses. 2022 Jan 1;47:bjac006. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjac006


[3] Matencio, A., Navarro-Orcajada, S., García-Carmona, F., & López-Nicolás, J. M. (2020). Applications of cyclodextrins in food science. A review. Trends in Food Science & Technology 104, 132–143

[4] Szejtli J, Szente L.. Elimination of bitter, disgusting tastes of drugs and foods by cyclodextrins. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2005;61:115–125. 

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