Extracted from luo han guo or monk fruit, mogroside compounds can be refined to yield a low-calorie sweetener. The result is a high-intensity alternative sweetener, around 150 to 300 times the sweetness of sugar. Like stevia, the sweetener has a slightly odd flavor that requires some form of flavor remediation. And it requires significant processing. Such hurdles could be overcome given burgeoning demand for sweetener alternatives deemed as “natural” by consumers. Stevia is one example of such sweeteners’ growth in popularity and market share.
The largest obstacle to the wider use of monk fruit sweeteners, though, has been limited accessibility: The plant is only grown in some mountain regions of China. Now, scientists from India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are reporting success in growing monk fruit in Himachal Pradesh. According to the Daily Pioneer, these researchers hope to gather the knowledge and techniques needed to successfully grow the fruit commercially and even to develop an improved cultivar.
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