Natural Thaumatin

Thaumatin is an intensely sweet-tasting protein (on a molar basis about 3,000 times as sweet as sucrose and found in the West African shrub Thaumatococcus Danielli. The thaumatin were first found as a mixture of proteins isolated from the katemfe fruit Thaumatococcus DanielliBennett of West Africa.

Thaumatin is produced from the arils of the fruit. Thaumatococcus Daniellii grows in the wild abundantly and is available in the rain forests of West African countries like Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Liberia and Central African countries like Cameroon, Gabon etc. Studies are on to develop it through stem cell technology also. The fruits are available almost 9-10 months in a year and are in abundance and more.

The sweet protein Thaumatin is found in the gel-like aril of the fruit (Pic 2). About 2-3% Thaumatin can be extracted from the Arils (depending on the factors like maturity of the fruit, area/region from which it is harvested etc). Cut fruit of Thaumatococcus Daniellii showing white gel-like arils sitting on top of black seeds(It is a three seeded fruit generally). The gel-like aril contains thaumatin.


  • is 3000 times sweeter than sugar
  • is a flavor enhancer
  • is GMP approved – can be consumed by an infant of 6 months also
  • is a PROTEIN
  • is used in ppm levels in applications and therefore imparts virtually zero calories
  • does not cause tooth decay
  • is heat and pH stable
  • masks the unsavory after taste of other sweeteners/molecules when used in combination

Thaumatin is digested like any other protein, so there is no concern about toxicity. Following a favourable scientific opinion from the European Food Safety Authority,formulators are able to use the natural protein sweetener and flavor modifier thaumatin in a broader range of applications. The decision supports extending the categories in which thaumatin can be used to include food flavourings, salt substitutes, soups, snacks & sauces, energy reduced breakfast cereals, jams and jellies, food supplements and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Overview of Worldwide Regulatory Status

Thaumatin is classified by JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives ) and CODEX as safe and has no maximum allowable daily intake (ADI) The body digests Thaumatin in a better way as any other protein.


  • Approved by the Flavour Extract Manufacturers Association as ‘Generally Recognised As Safe’ in over 30 different food categories.
  • Defined as a flavour ingredient Thaumatin is approved for wide use in food and does not have to be labelled although there are limitations upon final inclusion levels.

Non-Food Approved Use Of Thaumatin

  • Cosmetics and Toiletries Includes toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Approved under the INCI system for use in all cosmetic and toiletry products.
  • Pharmaceuticals Can be used in an individual product specific application basis based on existing approved in Foods. (FEMA GRAS).
  • In the UK Thaumatin was approved by the Committee on the Safety and Medicine (CSM) in 1981. It has been recognised as a safe additive for medicines and used in drugs without any restriction
  • In other countries, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, using Thaumatin in drugs has been approved.


  • 1) The raw material aril powder imported from West Africa is extracted in water at acidic pH & low temperature preferably.
  • 2) The extracted thaumatin in water first filtered through a series of filters like Open Nutsche Filter, Candle Filters of different sizes.
  • 3) Then thaumatin rich filtrate is passed through Microfiltration unit which removes the possible, if any, sediments & microbes and then through Ultra filtration modules where it is clarified and purified besides washing out all the inorganic salts & impurities present .The effluent water can be used for gardening.
  • 4) Then it is batched down, dried in freeze dryer to give a fluffy off-white crystalline powder.
  • 5) The dry thaumatin is manually ground & packed
  • 6) It is then stored at 2-100 C.

Thaumatin is a natural protein that has wide range of application in multitude of food ingredient applications.Thaumatin plays a leading role in determining the flavour of food by acting as a flavour enhancer or bitter masking agent in the like Food & Beverages, Pharmaceutical, Oral Care, Cattle Feed, Savoury Products, Table Top Sweetener, Ice-Cream, Condiments, Bakery, Dairy & Non Dairy, etc. Finally flavour & bitter masking contribute to the mouth feel. But its inherent versatility makes it capable of so much more.

  • Has ability to enhance elements of the flavour & sweetener compounds.
  • Can mask other elements.
  • Provides possible synergy when used in conjunction with the other high intensity sweeteners and with flavour enhancing compounds.
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