In trials, it enabled customers to reduce sucralose by up to 75%, while combining it with Firmenich's proprietary delivery systems also delivered a taste benefit in certain applications, said Aldo Uva, corporate vice president flavours at Firmenich.
A sucrose enhancer developed with Senomyx would be ready for commercial launch in a few months, added Uva, who is also working with Pure Circle to develop flavour systems for Reb-A, a natural sweetener from the stevia leaf. "Taste modulation is an increasingly important part of our business in markets where customers are under pressure to use natural ingredients and deliver outstanding flavour in a low fat, sugar and salt environment."
Senomyx has pioneered the use of high-throughput screening to evaluate millions of molecules to identify which ones bind to which taste receptors in the nose and mouth. Any substance that binds and activates sweet receptors, for example, will tell the brain we're eating something sweet.
To commercialise its technology, it has struck exclusivity deals with several multinational food and drink manufacturers including Nestlé and Coca-Cola. It is also working with soy giant Solae to develop bitter blockers to improve the flavour of soy-based foods.
More recently, it has identified more than 250 enhancers of salt and potassium chloride, plus a range of substances claimed to "cool the mouth more effectively than menthol and WS-3".