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Miracle fruit facts for kids

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Miracle fruit
MiracleBerry.jpg
Scientific classification
Genus: Synsepalum
Species: dulcificum
Synonyms

Bakeriella dulcifica (Schumach. & Thonn.) Dubard
Bumelia dulcifica uSchumach. & Thonn.
Pouteria dulcifica (Schumach. & Thonn.) Baehni
Richardella dulcifica (Schumach. & Thonn.) Baehni
Sideroxylon dulcificum (Schumach. & Thonn.) A.DC.
Synsepalum glycydora Wernham

The miracle fruit is the berry of Synsepalum dulcificum, a plant from West Africa. The chemical produced by the fruit makes other food taste sweet. This chemical is called miraculin. Miraculin is a glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrate chains.

The berry has a low sugar content and a mildly sweet taste. When the fruit is eaten, miraculin binds to the tongue's taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. At neutral pH, miraculin binds and blocks the receptors, but at low pH (after eating sour food) miraculin binds protons and activates the sweet receptors. This is what causes the sweet taste. This effect lasts until the protein is washed away by saliva (up to about 60 minutes).

Miraculin is now being produced by transgenic tomato plants.


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