Pharmiweb ChannelsAll | PharmaCo | Clinical Research | R&D/BioTech | Sales/Mktg | Healthcare | Recruitment | Pharmacy | Medical Comms RSS Feed RSS Feeds


Press Release

Promising results from study show that zero-calorie prebiotic sweeteners could replace sugar in food and drink products

Posted on: 26 Jan 18

Human taste studies carried out by the Flavour and Sensory Science Centre at the University of Reading have found that zero-calorie prebiotic sweeteners, developed by OptiBiotix Health, are significantly sweeter than other existing sugars and sweeteners. These results suggest that the natural, zero-calorie, healthy prebiotic sweeteners could work as bulk sugar replacements in a wide range of food and drink products.

These high-intensity prebiotic ‘oligosaccharides’, known as SweetBiotix®, are naturally sweet and healthy fibres which are not digested in the gut, meaning that they are calorie-free[i][i]. OptiBiotix has been developing these fibres as potential bulk sugar replacements, as they have sweetness similar to sucrose but contain no calories. In addition, as the fibres are prebiotics, they also work to improve microbiome diversity, which has been linked to numerous health benefits.

The University of Reading study tested eight samples of sugars and sweeteners, including OptiBiotix’s oligosaccharides. A panel of 11 experienced experts rated 11 attributes, including sweet taste, strength of off-flavour (e.g. bitterness, saltiness), and sweet after taste, compared to sucrose. The sweet oligosaccharide developed by OptiBiotix was found to be significantly sweeter than all other samples, as well as low in all off-flavours, including bitterness, sourness, staleness, and saltiness. The most substantial differences between the samples were in sweet taste, strength of off-flavour, and sweet after taste.

Dr Lisa Methven, Director of the University of Reading’s Sensory Science Centre, and lead investigator on the study, commented, “OptiBiotix’s oligosaccharides performed very well against the other samples in our study, particularly on overall sweetness. These results suggest that these sweet prebiotic fibres could work well as bulk sugar replacements in food and drink products, although further functionality testing is needed.”

Stephen O'Hara, CEO of OptiBiotix, said, "We are very pleased that the results of this study showed that OptiBiotix's sweet oligosaccharide had the highest sweetness, and was low in off-flavours, when compared to a wide range of existing sugars and prebiotics. This development creates the potential to replace existing 'unhealthy' sugars with low calorie, healthy non-digestible fibres with gut microbiome functionality.

With growing concerns over the impact on health of traditional sugars and artificial sweeteners, the ability to develop sweet functional fibres puts OptiBiotix at the forefront of product development in this area of growing industry and commercial interest."

Previous studies of OptiBiotix’s SweetBiotix® oligosaccharides have shown that they are both safe for human consumption, as between 140x and 223x the sweetness of sucrose. This means that a far lower concentration of oligosaccharides would be required to achieve the same level of sweetness as sucrose.

The human microbiome

The human digestive tract contains a complex and diverse ecosystem of trillions of bacteria.  Recently, advances in molecular and analytical techniques (metagenomics, metabolomics) have permitted identification and quantitation of species and strains of bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract, their metabolic activity, and interactions with the human host. These studies have provided greater insight into the role of gut and their metabolites in health and disease.


Web MD

About OptiBiotix

OptiBiotix was formed in March 2012 by microbiologist Stephen O’Hara to develop compounds which modify the human microbiome – the collective genome of the microbes in the body – to prevent and manage human disease. 

The aim of OptiBiotix is to discover and develop microbial strains, compounds and formulations, which modulate the human microbiome and can be used as food ingredients and supplements or active compounds for the prevention and management of human metabolic diseases, examples of which include obesity, cholesterol and lipid distribution and diabetes. 

OptiBiotix has established a pipeline of microbiome modulators that can impact on lipid and cholesterol management, energy harvest and appetite suppression. The development pipeline is fuelled by its proprietary OptiScreen® and OptiBiotic® platform technologies designed to identify metabolic pathways and compounds that impact on human physiology and bring potential health benefits. These platforms are applicable across a wider range of other human diseases.


Editor's Details

Mike Wood

Last updated on: 26/01/2018

Site Map | Privacy & Security | Cookies | Terms and Conditions is Europe's leading industry-sponsored portal for the Pharmaceutical sector, providing the latest jobs, news, features and events listings.
The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician.