The Flavour and Sensory Science Centre at the University of Reading tested eight different samples.
It found the company's oligosaccharides were significantly sweeter than the other products tested, while being low in all “off-flavours” such as bitterness, sourness, staleness and saltiness.
The company is developing sweet, natural, healthy fibres under the SweetBiotix brand, which are not digested in the human gut, and are therefore calorie-free.
Big potential market
This would give the research firm entry to the US$100bn a year global sweetener market, which is still dominated by sugar.
OptiBiotix chief executive Stephen O'Hara said he was pleased with the results of the Reading study.
“This development creates the potential to replace existing unhealthy sugars with low calorie, healthy non-digestible fibres (SweetBiotix) with gut microbiome functionality.
“With growing concerns over the impact on health of traditional sugars and artificial sweeteners, the ability to develop sweet functional fibres puts OptiBiotix at the forefront of product development in this area of growing industry and commercial interest."
The company’s specialism is the human microbiome, an ecosystem of bacteria and yeasts that reside in the gut and on the skin.
It is thought changes to the human flora can have an impact on health, hence the proliferation of functional foods such as yoghurts filled with probiotic, or good bacteria.
OptiBiotix’s focus is mainly on the gut with advances designed to tackle obesity, cholesterol and diabetes although the company does have a separately-quoted business developing skincare products.
In a note to clients, analysts at ‘house’ broker finnCap commented: “This positive taste study further demonstrates the potential for SweetBiotix to replace traditional sugars and artificial sweeteners as a bulk sugar replacement that contains no calories and improves microbiome diversity.”
In late afternoon trading, shares in Optibiotix were 1.6% higher at 635p.
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