Stevia rebaudiana: The Sweetener Power of Nature
Reb A 97 GT the first class safe natural pure molecule of sweetness
The sweetness of Stevia’s leaves was well known for century and used by amerindians Guarinis which is called Kaâ-hè-é.
In 1899, the first detailled botanic ( and also sweetness) description was made by the swiss botanist Moisés Santiago Bertoni during his research in Eastern Paraguay.
The species Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia’s taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations.
In 1931, the two french scientists Bridel and Lavielle have isolated and cristallised the compounds which were responsible of the sweet taste of Stevia rebaudiana, Bertoni. The exact chemical formula of steviolglycoside ( aglycone and glycoside) were publised in 1955. Now, more than 12 differents molecules, with the steviol aglycone, was isolated form differents variants of Stevia rebaudiana, B.
In 2008, the Coca-Cola Company with the giant agricultural processing Cargill have obtained the GRAS approval from the FDA for the Rebaudioside A with a purity > 97%.
In September 2009, the French government has followed the same way with a temporary autorisation as food additive for 2 years for the Rebaudioside A more than 97% of purity in order to wait the European Commission Directive.
In 2010, The NDA panel experts of .EFSA ( European Food Safety Agency) gave a positive opinion on the safety of Steviolglycosides ( a mixture of Rebaudioside A and Stevioside mainly) with a minimum purity of 95% expressed in dry basis.
This article is available in full in the Spring 2011 issue of Nutraceuticals Now