ATLANTA – Thaumatin, when used at a low dose, may reduce the bitterness in the aftertaste of stevia-based sweeteners, according to a study done at Nottingham University in the United Kingdom. Naturex, which has a U.S. office in South Hackensack, N.J., distributes Thaumatin under the Talin brand name in the United States, where it should be listed as a “natural flavor” on ingredient labels.

Thaumatin, a fruit with the scientific name Thaumatococcus Daniellii, is harvested in west African countries, said Justine Lord, market development manager for Naturex and based in the United Kingdom. Thaumatin is 3,250 times sweeter than sugar, she said while speaking Feb. 25 at Stevia World Americas in Atlanta.

“It’s very, very sweet,” she said. “If you taste it, you will taste it for the rest of the day.”

The study at Nottingham University involved black licorice sweetened with Rebaudioside A, a form of stevia, at 236 parts per million (p.p.m.). Results from a trained sensor panel found a dose level of thaumatin between 0.5 p.p.m. and 1 p.p.m. may help to increase a cleaner sweet taste in the licorice and increase the acceptable dose level of Rebaudioside A.

Thaumatin may add a desired sweetness and acidity in the base matrix for beverages, ice cream and candy that use stevia-based sweeteners, Ms. Lord said.