Secrets of the Miracle Berry Unlocked

by admin on July 26, 2012

Miracle fruit berriesMiracle berries are red berries that grows on a shrub like plant in West Africa. It is prized for it’s strange ability to make anything acidic taste sweet when the berry is eaten first. This sensation continues for about one hour after the berry is first eaten.

A group of researchers with the University of Tokyo had been working on a mystery that had remained unsolved for 40 years. How did the miracle berry work to trick the taste buds into believing sour tastes are sweet?

They found that the sour to sweet sensation was a result of the miraculin binding to the taste bud. Further taste shifts are the result of this binding and different glycoprotein interactions.  This protein is the reason the sensation lasts for an hour. The protein can stay bound to the taste bud for about that long before being broken down by saliva.

Interestingly, because the berry works through this protein chain, heating the berries flesh will inactivate the effect causing the protein to change into a cooked form that is incapable of binding to the taste buds.

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