Miracle fruit makes life a little sweeter

Written by: Captain Skellett // May 5th, 2010 // Drugs, How Things Work, Just for Fun, The Realm of Bizzare

A mouthful changes your perception of taste, making everything you eat for an hour afterward taste sweet. Lemons taste like oranges, oranges taste delightful, strawberries are to die for. Sounds like something illicit, a taste trip.

It was about a year ago I first heard of miracle fruit. It’s a berry from West Africa. There’s a chemical inside aptly called miraculin which is responsible for the flavour changing fun. Miraculin is a protein with some carbohydrate chains attached. It might work by changing the structure of taste buds, causing the sweet receptors to be activated by normally sour tasting acids. So if you have some lemon juice, your sweet receptors go “ooh, that’s sweet!” and your brain buys it. It’s a tad dodgy, as large amounts of lemon juice make you feel disgusting. May help with the treatment of scurvy though.

Miraculin and miracle fruit do not taste sweet themselves unlike curculin, a protein which comes from a plant in Malaysia that has similar taste-changing properties. There’s another plant derived class of chemical called gymnemic acids, which has the opposite effect. It’s an anti-sweetener that lasts for 10 minutes, and makes sugar water taste like regular water.

According to the Wiki Gods, a company planned to bring it to the USA as a food sweetener in the 1970’s. The FDA tentatively approved it as “generally regarded as safe” because people had been eating it for so long with no ill effects. But at the last minute, they changed their mind and said it was considered a food additive which needed more stringent testing. The company didn’t have the cashola to fund it, so that was the end of the mass market plan. For now anyway.

Want to go on your own taste trip? You can buy tablets containing dried miracle fruit from the internets. They ship all over the world. Some people like to have miracle fruit parties, where they serve a range of foodstuffs and provide the magic tablet.

It sounds like a drug to me. And drugs are bad, mmkay. A Schooner of Science is not responsible for your crazy shenanigans. But if you’ve tried it, tell me about it and post a comment below.

Captain Skellett

I be Captain Skellett. Me blog started in April 2009 when I was working full time and didn’t get a chance to talk science. Now I have changed jobs and talk science all the time, but that doesn’t stop me blogging. More About Captain Skellett   Google


10 Responses to “Miracle fruit makes life a little sweeter”

  1. psi*psi says:

    They look a little like loquats, but the wrong color. I’ve recently decided that loquats are horribly addictive things…they’re SO FREAKING JUICY AND DELICIOUS that I might be inclined to acquire a tree of them by less than legal means.

  2. Nina says:

    i’ve tried the tablets, got them from thinkgeek.
    they absolutely work. i was sceptical about just how effective they would be but they really do work.
    lemons taste the best, vinegar is bizarre but definately worth trying. tabasco is disgusting as it’s still obviously spicy… don’t know why the websites suggested it.
    next time i’d like to try warhead lollies.

    my only problem with them is that i love sour things so i wanted my tastebuds back much sooner than the two hours it took them to go back to normal. also, to me, they made everything taste like it was sweetened with artificial sweeteners and i’m not a fan

  3. Spanks says:

    Hi Nina!!! Fancy seeing you here…
    You forgot to mention the best thing about Miracle Berries… grapefruit!!
    Now i don’t normally like sour or acidic tasting things but grapefruit was divine and i was eating lemons as if they were oranges. It was really cool.
    But i kinda wanted it to go away when it made my beer taste sweet.

  4. Nina says:

    yeah, it ruined my red wine…

  5. Got my tablets on Amazon and red wine indeed goes to hell with these. But on the other had. Limes, grapefruit (my favorite after Miracle Fruit) and goat cheese actually make it up 🙂

  6. I just bought some fresh fruit fomr a guy that grows them near me (Magicalfruit site) and I must say they do the same thing as the tablets… COOL!


  7. Miracle Fruit trees are hard to grow, so tablets are handy I guess. I have some trees see my site…

  8. JamieDantell says:

    I have been buying the Mberry tablets from http://www.Miraclefruithut.com they’re great, i also got a package with some berries and a plant so i could grow my own. Their shipping was quick too. I have been loving the strawberries and grapefruit!

  9. Alvilda Toro says:

    We at MiracleFruitPR grow and sell miracle fruit fresh berries. We are in Puerto Rico. You can contact us at: miraclefruitpr@gmail.com

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