|Jmol-3D images||Image 1|
|Appearance||white crystalline powder|
225 °C, 498 K, 437 °F
|Solubility in water||270 g/L at 20 °C|
| (what is: / ?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Acesulfame potassium (ace-SUHL-faym) is a calorie-free sugar substitute (artificial sweetener), also known as Acesulfame K or Ace K (K being the symbol for potassium), and marketed under the trade names Sunett and Sweet One. In the European Union, it is known under the E number (additive code) E950. It was discovered accidentally in 1967 by German chemist Karl Clauss at Hoechst AG (now Nutrinova). In chemical structure, acesulfame potassium is the potassium salt of 6-methyl-1,2,3-oxathiazine-4(3H)-one 2,2-dioxide. It is a white crystalline powder with molecular formula C4H4KNO4S and a molecular weight of 201.24 g/mol.
Acesulfame K is 200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), as sweet as aspartame, about 2/3 as sweet as saccharin, and 1/3 as sweet as sucralose. Like saccharin, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste, especially at high concentrations. Kraft Foods has patented the use of sodium ferulate to mask acesulfame's aftertaste. Acesulfame K is often blended with other sweeteners (usually sucralose or aspartame). These blends are reputed to give a more sugar-like taste whereby each sweetener masks the other's aftertaste, and/or exhibits a synergistic effect by which the blend is sweeter than its components.
Unlike aspartame, acesulfame K is stable under heat, even under moderately acidic or basic conditions, allowing it to be used as a food additive in baking, or in products that require a long shelf life. In carbonated drinks, it is almost always used in conjunction with another sweetener, such as aspartame or sucralose. It is also used as a sweetener in protein shakes and pharmaceutical products, especially chewable and liquid medications, where it can make the active ingredients more palatable.
Acesulfame potassium was developed after the accidental discovery of a similar compound (5,6-dimethyl-1,2,3-oxathiazin-4(3H)-one 2,2-dioxide) in 1967 by Karl Clauss and Harald Jensen at Hoechst AG. After accidentally dipping his fingers into the chemicals that he was working with, Clauss licked them to pick up a piece of paper. Subsequent research showed that a number of compounds with the same basic ring structure had varying levels of sweetness. 6-methyl-1,2,3-oxathiazine-4(3H)-one 2,2-dioxide had particularly favourable taste characteristics and was relatively easy to synthesize, so it was singled out for further research, and received its generic name (Acesulfame-K) from the World Health Organization in 1978.
As with other artificial sweeteners, there is concern over the safety of acesulfame potassium. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved their general use. Critics say acesulfame potassium has not been studied adequately and may be carcinogenic, although these claims have been dismissed by the FDA and by equivalent authorities in the European Union.
One rodent study showed no increased incidence of tumors in response to administration of acesulfame K. In this study, conducted by the National Toxicology Program, 60 rats were given acesulfame K for 40 weeks, making up as much as 3 percent of their total diet (which would be equivalent to a human consuming 1,343 12-oz cans of artificially sweetened soft drinks every day). There was no sign that these (or lower) levels of acesulfame K increased the rats' risk of cancer or other neoplasms. However, a similar study conducted with p53 haploinsufficient mice showed signs of carcinogenicity in males but not females. Further research in terms of food safety has been recommended.
Research suggests that acesulfame K may affect prenatal development. One study appeared to show that acesulfame K is ingested by mice through their mother's amniotic fluid or breast milk, and that this influences the adult mouse's sweet preference.
Additional research on the effects of acesulfame K on mice revealed that chronic use over a period of 40 days resulted in a moderate but limited effect on neurometabolic function. These results suggest that chronic usage of acesulfame K may lead to impairment of cognitive function.
- "Current EU approved additives and their E Numbers". UK: Food Standards Agency. 2012-03-14.
- Clauss, K.; Jensen, H. (1973). "Oxathiazinone Dioxides - A New Group of Sweetening Agents". Angewandte Chemie International Edition 12 (11): 869–876. doi:10.1002/anie.197308691.
- Ager, D. J.; Pantaleone, D. P.; Henderson, S. A.; Katritzky, A. R.; Prakash, I.; Walters, D. E. (1998). "Commercial, Synthetic Nonnutritive Sweeteners" (PDF). Angewandte Chemie International Edition 37 (13–14): 1802–1817. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1521-3773(19980803)37:13/14<1802::AID-ANIE1802>3.0.CO;2-9.
- United States Patent 5,336,513
- O'Brien-Nabors, L. (2001). Alternative Sweeteners. New York, NY: Marcel Dekker. p. 13. ISBN 0-8247-0437-1.
- Williams, R. J.; Goldberg, I. (1991). Biotechnology and Food Ingredients. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. ISBN 0-442-00272-6.
- Newton, D. E. (2007). Food Chemistry (New Chemistry). New York: Infobase Publishing. p. 69. ISBN 0-8160-5277-8.
- Karstadt, M. L. (2006). "Testing Needed for Acesulfame Potassium, an Artificial Sweetener" (PDF). Environmental Health Perspectives 114 (9): A516. doi:10.1289/ehp.114-a516a. PMC 1570055. PMID 16966071.
- Kroger, M.; Meister, K.; Kava, R. (2006). "Low-Calorie Sweeteners and Other Sugar Substitutes: A Review of the Safety Issues". Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 5 (2): 35–47. doi:10.1111/j.1541-4337.2006.tb00081.x.
- Scientific Committee on Food (2000). "Opinion - Re-evaluation of acesulfame K with reference to the previous SCF opinion of 1991" (PDF). SCF/CS/ADD/EDUL/194 final. EU Commission.
- Liang, Y.; Steinbach, G.; Maier, V.; Pfeiffer, E. F. (1987). "The Effect of Artificial Sweetener on Insulin Secretion. 1. The Effect of Acesulfame K on Insulin Secretion in the Rat (Studies in Vivo)". Hormone and Metabolic Research 19 (6): 233–238. doi:10.1055/s-2007-1011788. PMID 2887500.
- National Toxicology Program (2005). "Toxicity Studies of Acesulfame Potassium (CAS No. 55589-62-3) in FVB/N-TgN(v-Ha-ras)Led (Tg.AC) Hemizygous Mice and Carcinogenicity Studies of Acesulfame Potassium in B6.129-Trp53tm1Brd (N5) Haploinsufficient Mice (Feed Studies)" (PDF). Genetically Modified Model Report (National Institutes of Health) 2005 (NTP GMM-2): 1–113. PMID 18784762. NIH Publication No. 06-4460.
- Soffritti, M. (2006). "Acesulfame Potassium: Soffritti Responds" (PDF). Environmental Health Perpectives 114 (9): A516–A517. doi:10.1289/ehp.114-a516b. PMC 1570058.
- Zhang, G. H.; Chen, M. L.; Liu, S. S.; Zhan, Y. H.; Quan, Y.; Qin, Y. M.; Deng, S. P. (2011). "Effects of Mother's Dietary Exposure to Acesulfame-K in Pregnancy or Lactation on the Adult Offspring's Sweet Preference". Chemical Senses 36 (9): 763–770. doi:10.1093/chemse/bjr050. PMID 21653241.
- Cong W-n, Wang R, Cai H, Daimon CM, Scheibye-Knudsen M, et al. (2013). "Long-Term Artificial Sweetener Acesulfame Potassium Treatment Alters Neurometabolic Functions in C57BL/6J Mice.". PLoS One 8 (8): e70257. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070257.
- British Pharmacopoeia Commission Secretariat (2009). "Index, BP 2009" (PDF).
- Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives evaluation monograph of Acesulfame Potassium
- FDA approval of Acesulfame Potassium
- FDA approval of Acesulfame Potassium as a General Purpose Sweetener in Food
- Elmhurst College, Illinois Virtual ChemBook Acesulfame K
- Hazardous substances databank entry at the national library of medicine (outdated source)
- Discovery News Sweeteners Linger in Groundwater