Senomyx, a developer of novel flavor ingredients for the packaged food industry, has been granted a patent for a technology that makes foods taste sweeter, the US Patent and Trademark Office has announced.
The patent covers binding assays that use the human T1R3 taste receptor to screen for compounds that elicit or modulate sweet taste, said the company.
The new patent extends the intellectual property protection provided by a patent previously issued to Senomyx.
The earlier patent covered novel techniques that use the human sweet taste receptor as the basis for assay systems that are more efficient than traditional flavor discovery procedures.
"The assays covered by the company's new and previously issued patents enable us to screen our expansive libraries of nearly half a million natural and synthetic compounds and extracts using proprietary techniques to identify new flavor ingredients that enhance or impart sweet taste," claimed Kent Snyder, president and chief executive officer of Senomyx.
Both patents are the result of work carried out under the company¢s sweet enhancer and high potency sweetener programs.
The sweet enhancer program focuses on creating novel flavor ingredients that enhance the taste of natural and artificial sweeteners and, claims the company, enable a significant reduction in sweeteners added to foods and beverages.
The high potency sweetener program concentrates on identifying novel low- or non-caloric, natural, high potency sweeteners that offer improved taste and physical properties compared to other currently available products, said Senomyx.
The flavor ingredients resulting from these programs are designed to be used in a variety of foods, including confectionaries, cereals, ice cream, yogurt, desserts, spreads and bakery products.
Senomyx now owns, or is the exclusive licensee, of 85 patents, and has 319 further patent applications pending in countries around the world.
"We view our intellectual property portfolio as an important asset that helps Senomyx establish collaborative agreements with market-leading food and beverage companies," Snyder explained.
The company currently works with Ajinomoto, Cadbury Schweppes, Campbell Soup Company, the Coca-Cola Company, Kraft Foods, Nestle and Solae.