SPLTRAK Abstract Submission
The Sweet Taste of Acarbose and Maltotriose: Relative Detection and Underlying Mechanism
Alexa J Pullcin, Michael H Penner, Juyun Lim
Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, United States

Despite having similar molecular structures, the relative sweetness of different saccharides can vary considerably. Current understanding of saccharide structure/sweetness interrelationships is limited. An approach to improving this understanding is to generate insightful data on the correlations between the structural features of saccharides, and/or saccharide analogs, and their relative sweetness. Maltotriose is a short-chain glucose oligomer, which we recently reported to have sweet taste. Acarbose is a structural analog of a glucose oligomer. During other studies, we recognized that acarbose can also elicit sweet taste above a certain concentration. In the first experiment, we formally investigated the underlying taste detection mechanism of acarbose along with maltotriose; when the sweet taste receptor was inhibited, human subjects were no longer able to discriminate acarbose or maltotriose from blanks. In the second experiment, we measured the relative sweetness detection of acarbose, maltotriose, and other sweet-tasting mono- and disaccharides (glucose, fructose, maltose, and sucrose) that have different structural features. We found that maltotriose has similar discriminability to glucose and maltose at the concentrations tested (18, 32, and 56 mM), while the discriminability of acarbose closely matches that of fructose. Study findings are discussed in terms of how specific molecular feature (e.g., degree of polymerization and monomer composition) may contribute to the relative sweetness of saccharides.