Our taste buds allow us to differentiate between the five elements of taste perceptions: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. Without these small receptors located in our mouth, we would not be able to distinguish the foods that we ingest. For instance, we know that a lemon is sour and chocolate is bitter, because of these nerve endings. However, what if there was something that could possibly alter those flavours?
Synsepalum dulcificum, otherwise known as the miracle fruit is a berry known to modify the interoceptors; making sour foods sweet, allowing for a unique experience when consumed. The reason for this occurrence is caused by an enzyme called miraculin, which attaches to the sweet receptors on the tongue. Once the protein comes into contact with a food of low pH, such as a lemon, the miraculin “activates” the sweet receptors, generating the impression of sweet taste.
Used originally as a sweetener for palm wine, the miraculous berry has been utilized in medical practices, mainly being developed commercially for patrons suffering from diabetes, because of its low sugar content. Now that the fruit has been more accessible to the public, the sweet fruit is simply being used to enjoy an alteration of flavour.
If you are interested in samplying these little wonders, they can be purchased in tablets online (i.e.: amazon) for under 20$. It is suggested to try out lemons, tomatoes, salt and vinegar chips, beer (e.g. Guiness), and much more. I am truly intrigued in knowing if anyone has tried this miracle berry, so if you want to share your experience, do not hesitate. (: