Miracle fruit facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Synsepalum dulcificum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Synsepalum
Species: S. dulcificum

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, called miraculin, is now being produced by transgenic tomato plants. 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).

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Miracle fruit Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.