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Compounds cool without minty taste

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4:11pm, December 11, 2001

Imagine the crisp, refreshing sensation of peppermint chewing gum. Now, imagine it without the mint.

That's a possibility proposed by researchers who've created a compound that delivers a more potent version of the cooling sensation of menthol, without the minty taste or smell.

Thomas Hofmann and his colleagues at the German Research Center for Food Chemistry in Garching, Germany, recently identified four natural cooling compounds in malt. The team has now synthesized 26 compounds similar to the natural ones and tested the new compounds on trained tasters.

The researchers found that substituting an oxygen atom for a carbon in one of the natural structure's rings increased the compound's cooling power. Other alterations, such as adding carbon and hydrogen atoms, decreased the cooling sensation.

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