The Little Known Miracle Berry

May 1, 2024

miracle berry

It’s known as the miracle fruit or miracle berry, but this berry is properly known as Synsepalum dulcificum. It has an interesting trait. When someone eats the berry, foods that usually taste sour begin to taste sweet.

The berry is from West Africa and was not well known outside its native habitat though it has been known since the 18th century. The reason is because the berry rots quickly, thus making it difficult to export. Attempts were made in the 1970s to get an extract of the berry approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a sugar substitute, but the effort ultimately failed when it was classified as a food additive. It can now be purchased through multiple websites in tablet or powder form, by the berry, or you can even buy your own miracle fruit plant.

The miracle fruit turns food from sour to sweet because of a protein called miraculin. This protein binds with the tongue’s taste buds and activates the sweet receptors, especially when the pH is low like it is in sour foods. The effect lasts about 30 minutes to an hour before it wears off.

Sources: New York Times, BBC, The Guardian

About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium, our ad-free subscription sites. I hope you learn many new things here that add to your knowledge.

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