Aspartame

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Aspartame (or APM) (pronounced /ˈæspərteɪm/ or /əˈspɑrteɪm/) is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. The most notable name brand of aspartame is Nutra-sweet.[citation needed] In the European Union, it is codified as E951. Aspartame is a methyl ester of the aspartic acid/phenylalanine dipeptide. It was first synthesized in 1965.

The safety of aspartame has been the subject of several political and medical controversies, Congressional hearings and internet hoaxes[citation needed] since its initial approval for use in food products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1974. A 2007 medical review on the subject concluded that "the weight of existing scientific evidence indicates that aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption as a non-nutritive sweetener".[3] However, because its breakdown products include phenylalanine, aspartame must be avoided by people with the genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU).

Contents

Chemistry

Aspartame is a methyl ester of the dipeptide of the natural amino acids L-aspartic acid and L-phenylalanine. Under strongly acidic or alkaline conditions, aspartame may generate methanol by hydrolysis. Under more severe conditions, the peptide bonds are also hydrolyzed, resulting in the free amino acids.[4]

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