Frequently Asked Questions

Many of the world’s leading food and beverage companies use our flavor ingredients in numerous products. For example, our flavor ingredients, such as boosters of sweet taste, are used in a wide variety of branded food and beverages, including coffee, tea, dairy beverages, baked goods and yogurt. Use of flavor ingredients is widespread and found in many of the food and beverage products that people enjoy on a daily basis.

Our flavor ingredients have already been used in North America and in more than 30 countries in Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

No. Our flavor ingredients are not made from genetically modified organisms.

Our flavor ingredients do not come from allergenic sources, such as nuts, shellfish, seafood, etc., and do not contain any known allergenic materials.

Our flavor boosters enable the reduction of calories by decreasing the amount of sugar or high fructose corn syrup in packaged foods and beverages, but, like other flavor ingredients, they do not have nutritional value.

Individuals experience the sensation of taste when flavors in food and beverages interact with the taste receptors in their taste buds. As a result of this interaction, signals are sent to the brain where a specific taste perception is registered. This mechanism is instantaneous and natural in humans. There are currently five recognized primary senses of taste: sweet, salt, bitter, sour and umami, also known as savory taste.

A Senomyx sweet taste booster, for example, interacts with the sweet taste receptor located on taste buds on the tongue. Our sweet taste booster heightens the receptor’s response to sugar, so less sugar is necessary to provide the desired level of sweetness in a food or beverage.

Because the combinations of ingredients we use in our flavor boosters are so effective, they appear in foods and beverages in miniscule quantities. In this case, a little really does go a long way.

We’ve found that in some ways, taste perception is similar to listening to music. If the volume is high enough, you can hear–or, in this case, taste–something easily. When a product has a lot of sugar, for example, the taste signal is “loud” and we perceive an intense sweet taste.

If the volume is too low, the sound is difficult to hear. You can “dial up the volume” to make it more noticeable. Similarly, when the amount of sugar in a product is reduced, the taste signal is not loud enough and doesn’t give us the sweet taste we desire. Our sweet boosters, such as Sweetmyx, “dial up the taste volume” by boosting the sweetness of the sugar, allowing us to have the full sweet taste with less sugar and fewer calories.

Sweetmyx, for example, works in products that have less sugar/high fructose corn syrup and fewer calories. Since Sweetmyx doesn’t have a taste of its own, the taste of the sweetener is dialed up, and the same taste is maintained.

Yes. Senomyx’s flavor ingredients go through robust safety testing before they are added to foods. This testing is conducted by independent research organizations and the results are reviewed by several safety assessment organizations. To ensure an objective evaluation, reviewing scientists are independent and have no professional or financial ties to Senomyx.

Senomyx’s flavor ingredients go through robust safety testing before they are added to foods and beverages. Our safety studies have been conducted according to guidelines established by the FDA and other regulatory bodies in order to fulfill international regulatory requirements for new flavor ingredients. This testing is conducted by independent research organizations and the results are reviewed by several third party safety assessment organizations. Reviewing scientists are independent to ensure an objective evaluation.

In the United States, the Expert Panel of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) designate flavor ingredients that meet their safety standards to be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).

The determination of the FEMA Expert Panel allows immediate use of flavor ingredients in the U.S. and numerous other countries in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. All of the Senomyx flavor ingredients used in foods and beverages have been granted FEMA GRAS designation. Additionally, all of these flavor ingredients have either been approved, or are in the process of being reviewed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA): upon completion of their review process our ingredients are allowed for use in the European Union. In addition, Senomyx flavor ingredients have been favorably reviewed by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) / World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO) Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), which allows immediate use in a number of countries and enables regulatory approvals elsewhere.

Labeling regulations classify Senomyx flavor ingredients, and many other ingredients, as artificial flavors. Accordingly, Senomyx flavor ingredients are listed as “artificial flavors” on ingredient statements. Flavor companies and food companies are protective of their flavor formulas, much like chefs are protective of their recipes. Since Senomyx flavor ingredients are part of a proprietary blended flavor mix, they are not individually listed on the ingredient statements of foods and beverages.

And while the exact recipes are protected by flavorists, the list of possible flavor ingredients that could be used to create flavors is available for everybody to see – the list of ingredients (the industry’s expansive “spice rack,” so to speak) is published by the U.S. flavor association, the FEMA. For additional information on flavors, visit FEMA’s website, www.flavorfacts.org.

With an advanced understanding of human taste bud science, precise screening platforms and taste testing, Senomyx has developed a process that mimics the natural function of the taste bud and enables us to discover new flavors that boost the taste of sweeteners and other flavors in foods and beverages, and allow for the reduction of sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Like vanilla and other flavors, our ingredients are mixed into a custom blend to provide an appealing flavor, or to boost the taste of other flavors. Unlike vanilla, however, our flavor boosters have no taste on their own. They work to boost the taste of sweeteners, such as sugar, as well as other flavor attributes. Senomyx’s flavor ingredients allow food and beverage manufacturers to create better-for-you products with benefits that include reduced sugar or high fructose corn syrup and fewer calories, while maintaining the same great taste.

Senomyx has discovered a naturally occurring, high intensity sweetener that we believe is superior in taste and potency to existing commercially available natural high intensity sweetener options. The sweetener’s common or usual name is “siratose.” Siratose is not a brand name, but the name you will see on the ingredient list next to the nutrition facts information area on a packaged food or beverage product.

Siratose comes from the fruit of luo han guo, also known as monk fruit, which grows on the perennial climbing vine Siratia grosvenorii. Monk fruit, native to southern China and northern Thailand, has been used for centuries by Buddhist monks.

The sweet components of monk fruit are called mogrosides. Specifically, mogroside V is the primary sweetener in all currently commercially available forms of monk fruit sweeteners. Senomyx has discovered a previously undescribed sweetener component in monk fruit, which is present at less than 1% of the fruit.

Senomyx is introducing our novel, high intensity sweetener under the common or usual name of “siratose.” Siratose is a minor component from monk fruit. This is not a brand name but the name you will see on the ingredient list next to the nutrition facts information area on a packaged food or beverage product.

Examples of common or usual names include sucralose, aspartame and rebaudioside A or steviol glycosides (the latter two are sweeteners that come from the stevia plant).

The name siratose comes in part from the word “siraitia” in Siraitia grosvenorii, which is the Latin, or species, name of the monk fruit plant, also known as luo han guo. The suffix “ose” is used to help identify it as a sweetener ingredient. Per general labeling guidance from the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), common or usual names must be descriptive of the ingredient, its function, or the chemical name of the active compound.

A brand name for this natural high intensity sweetener will be forthcoming.

Senomyx’s naturally-occurring high intensity sweetener, siratose, is very different than any natural sweetener on the market.

Senomyx screened over three million natural samples from our library which includes plant sources from around the world, and identified nearly 300 sweeteners from 35 distinct families of sweeteners found in nature. The discovery of this sweetener was facilitated by Senomyx’s proprietary taste science technology, allowing us to identify sweet tasting components of plants and other sweetener sources found in nature that cannot be identified through human taste testing methods alone.

Senomyx tested commercially available monk fruit extracts, and siratose demonstrated superior potency and overall taste quality. We then looked at more than 50 other minor sweetener components from monk fruit and also the monk fruit plant. Once again, siratose ranked highest in taste quality and potency.

After conducting a comprehensive analysis of taste and physical properties, we have advanced siratose into the development phase to bring this new naturally occurring sweetener to the market.

Senomyx will utilize a fermentation process to produce commercial volumes for this new high intensity sweetener known as siratose. Fermentation is the most effective and sustainable approach. Using this methodology ensures the final product will be identical to the naturally occurring sweet component found in monk fruit. We are pursuing a proprietary fermentation process, which is under development, to make sustainable commercial quantities of siratose.   We will share details regarding our fermentation approach as we move closer to commercializing this sweetener.

Siratose is a minor sweetener component of monk fruit, which is present at less than 1% of the fruit.
Therefore fermentation is the best method to produce siratose in order to achieve both consistent quality and sustainable commercial quantities of this high intensity sweetener ingredient.

In the United States, high intensity sweeteners are regulated under provisions of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Under this act, high intensity sweeteners may be regulated as approved food additives or as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) substances.

Based on discussions with regulatory experts, we will pursue a GRAS notification for siratose with the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). Since 2009, five extracts of luo han guo (monk fruit) have achieved regulatory authorization through the FDA utilizing this approach. Additionally, this widely accepted strategy has been utilized with over 40 steviol glycoside sweeteners.

We are continuing our efforts to develop a commercially viable fermentation scale up route for this sweetener. Upon completing the fermentation process, we then intend to submit our GRAS notification to the FDA.