Healthy and sustainable biotechnological sugar substitute

The development of technologies in the field of synthetic biology has allowed the introduction of a new type - biotechnological sugar substitutes, which could be called “sweet proteins”.
Sweet proteins - protein molecules that are naturally found in small quantities in some fruits of the equatorial belt. They are 800 to 3,000 times sweeter than sugar but do not increase blood glucose levels.
The rising incidence of diabetes and obesity is one of the key global health challenges. The dynamics of the growth in the number of cases in recent years has become truly terrifying.

In the UAE, the problem of diabetes is even more pressing. Rapid urbanization and socio-economic development in the country have led to the widespread adoption of a sedentary lifestyle and westernized diet in the local population and consequently a high prevalence of obesity and diabetes. In 2019, International Diabetes Federation statistics reported a diabetes prevalence rate of 16.3% for the adult population in the UAE, which is much higher, than American or European levels. It is proved that the main reason for these trends is excess sugar intake.

But sugar is not just a health challenge, it’s a multi-dimensional challenge. For example, the cultivation and processing of sugar severely harm the environment. Agrochemicals are widely used, leading to discharge and runoff of polluted effluent and air pollution. This causes the degradation of wildlife, soil, air, water, and downstream ecosystems.
TIn addition, if we speak about the sugar market in the UAE, the climatic conditions of the country do not efficiently allow the production of sugar. Therefore, the country annually imports 1.6-1.7 million tons of sugar per year (just about $700 million).

A large number of different sweeteners have been developed in the world. All of them can be divided into several groups:

• “Chemical” (for example aspartame) – cheap but not healthy and not sustainable
• “Natural” (for example stevia) – not affordable, it is very hard to provide large volumes

The extraction of natural sweet proteins is also not economically efficient. Therefore, scientists all over the world are working to create a biotechnological method for the production of sweet proteins.
Hi-Protein project has developed a unique, proven, and worldwide leading technology of biotechnological production of “sweet proteins”. The Company has achieved the following results:

• Technology for obtaining brazzein (equivalent in structure to natural) has been developed
• Technology for obtaining monellin (equivalent in structure to natural) has been developed
• Pilot production of sweet proteins started in Russia
• Formulas for the use of sweet proteins in final products (drinks, ice cream, confectionery) have been developed