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What is Aspartame?
diagram: molecular model of aspartame
Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener used in a variety of food and drinks, and in medicines. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sucrose.

Sweets, soft drinks, sweeteners, jams, confectionery, toppings,medicines - all contain aspartame which was first permitted in food in 1979, and marketed as NutrasweetTM .

Molecular model of aspartame
It is made from two amino acids

· phenylalanine diagram: phenylalanine molecule

· aspartic acid diagram: aspartic acid

The main problem in the chemical synthesis is the formation of an optical isomer which has a bitter taste, and must be completely removed from the product.

The alternative approach is to use biocatalysis, which makes use of an enzyme to achieve the synthesis.