What molecule am I?
Stevioside is a steviol glycoside found in the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana, a member of the sunflower family that is native to Paraguay and Brazil. French chemists M. Bridel and R. Lavielle discovered stevioside in 1931 and named it after the plant’s genus. In 1980, Tomoya Ogawa and colleagues at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (now Riken) in Wakō, Japan reported the total synthesis of stevioside.
For centuries, South Americans have used the dried leaves of S. rebaudiana as a sweetener. More recently, stevia products that contain stevioside and its glycoside cousin rebaudioside were “discovered” in the rest of the world as a non-nutritive replacement for common sugar (sucrose). One gram of stevioside is estimated to be as sweet as ≈300 g sucrose.
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