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Title:
STEVIA EXTRACTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/035524
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A Stevia extract made from leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant is described. The extract has desired levels of steviol glycosides and is useful in food, beverage, and other consumable products.

Inventors:
MARKOSYAN, Avetik (10-54 Babajanyan Street, 4 Yerevan, Yerevan, AM)
LI, Shan Wang (1501 room 3 Building, CaifugangZhanggong Zone, 0 Ganzhou City, City, CN)
BU, Yu Cheng (1501 room 3 Building, CaifugangZhanggong Zone, 0 Ganzhou City, City, CN)
Application Number:
US2016/049252
Publication Date:
March 02, 2017
Filing Date:
August 29, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PURECIRCLE USA INC. (915 Harger Road, Suite 250Chicago, Illinois, 60523-1492, US)
International Classes:
A23L1/236
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014146084A12014-09-18
Foreign References:
US5962678A1999-10-05
US4892938A1990-01-09
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BABCOCK, Audrey J. et al. (Briggs and Morgan, P.A.2200 IDS Center,80 South Eighth Stree, Minneapolis MN, 55402, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 . A process for preparing a steviol glycoside composition, comprising the steps of: a) providing Stevia rebaudiana leaves, wherein Stevia rebaudiana leaves comprise at least one steviol glycoside selected from the group consisting of RebD, RebE, RebN, and RebO, wherein any one or more of RebD, RebE, RebN or RebO is present at or above its common relative concentration;

b) providing a solvent comprising water;

c) contacting the Stevia rebaudiana leaves with the solvent to extract the steviol glycoside from the leaves; and

d) separating the Stevia rebaudiana leaves to obtain a Stevia extract solution comprising at least one steviol glycoside selected from the group consisting of RebD, RebE, RebN, and RebO, wherein any one or more of RebD, RebE, RebN or RebO is present in the solution at or above its common relative concentration;

wherein the common relative concentration for RebD is 2.4%, for RebE is 1 .0%, for RebN is 1 .6%, and for RebO is 0.8%.

2. The process of claim 1 further comprising purification of the Stevia extract solution and drying to obtain a Stevia extract with total steviol glycoside content of at least 6.9% (wt/wt on dry basis).

3. An untreated aqueous Stevia extract prepared by the process of claim 1 , wherein any one or more of RebD, RebE, RebN or RebO is present in the extract at or above its common relative concentration.

4. A food, beverage or other consumable comprising the Stevia extract of claim 3.

Description:
Stevia Extracts

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a process for preparing compositions comprising steviol glycosides. The present invention also relates to the use of compositions comprising steviol glycosides as sweeteners and/or flavor enhancers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

High intensity sweeteners possess a sweetness level that is many times greater than the sweetness level of sucrose. They are essentially non-caloric and are commonly used in diet and reduced-calorie products, including foods and beverages. High intensity sweeteners do not elicit a glycemic response, making them suitable for use in products targeted to diabetics and others interested in controlling for their intake of carbohydrates.

Steviol glycosides are a class of compounds found in the leaves of Stevia rebaudicma Bertoni, a perennial shrub of the Asteraceae (Compositae) family native to certain regions of South America. They are characterized structurally by a single base, steviol, differing by the presence of carbohydrate residues at positions C 13 and C I 9. They accumulate in Stevia leaves, composing approximately 10% - 20% of the total dry weight. On a dry weight basis, the four major glycosides found in the leaves of Stevia typically include stevioside (9.1 %), rebaudioside s (3.8%), rebaudioside C (0.6- 1 .0%) and dulcoside i (0.3%).

Morita et al. 201 1 (US 13/122,232) and Ohta et al 2010 (Ohta M., Sasa S., Inoue A, Tamai T., Fujita I, Morita K., and Matsuura F. (2010) Characterization of novel steviol glycosides from leaves of Stevia rebaudiana Morita, J. Appl. Glycosci. 57, 199-209) describe that rebaudiosides D, E, M, N and O are found in trace concentrations in the leaves of certain Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni cultivars. Due to this the purification of those glycosides, particularly rebaudiosides D, E, M, N and O can be achieved only by utilizing complex purification techniques such as chromatography, crystallization etc.

It is generally perceived that the aqueous extracts of Stevia rebaudiana are not suitable for use in food and beverage applications without further treatment such as crystallization, separation, isolation and purification of individual steviol glycosides. The reason for this is the low concentration of better tasting glycosides, particularly rebaudiosides D, E, M t N and O in regular, untreated extracts of Stevia rebandiana.

Accordingly, there remains a need for new cultivars of Stevia rebaudicma containing higher concentrations of rebaudiosides D, E, M, N and O, which can enable manufacturing of stevia extracts with higher concentrations of respective glycosides and their use as sweeteners and/or flavor ingredients without further treatment such as crystallization, separation, isolation and purification of individual steviol glycosides.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a process for preparing compositions comprising steviol glycosides from Stevia rebaudiana biomass. The present invention also relates to the use of compositions comprising steviol glycosides as a sweetener and/or flavor enhancer.

Hereinafter the term "steviol glycoside(s)" will mean steviol glycosides naturally occurring in Stevia rebaudiana, including but not limited to steviolmonoside, steviolbioside, rubusoside, dulcoside B, dulcoside A, rebaudioside B, rebaudioside G, stevioside, rebaudioside C, rebaudioside F, rebaudioside A, rebaudioside I, rebaudioside E, rebaudioside H, rebaudioside L, rebaudioside K, rebaudioside J, rebaudioside M, rebaudioside D, rebaudioside N, rebaudioside O, and combinations thereof.

Hereinafter the terms "RebA", "RebB", "RebC", "RebD", "RebE", "RebF", "RebM", "RebN", and "RebO" refer to Rebaudiosides A, B, C, D, E, F, M, N, and O.

Hereinafter the terms "RebD2", "RebG", "RebH", "Rebl", "RebJ", "RebK", "RebL", "RebM2", "RebP", "RebQ" "RebR", RebS", "RebT", "RebU", "RebV", "RebW", "RebX", "RebY", and "RebZ", refer to Rebaudiosides D2, G, H, I, J, , L, M2, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z.

Hereinafter the terms "Stev", "Sbio", "DulA", "Rub", refer to Stevioside, Steviolbioside, Dulcoside A and Rubusoside.

Hereinafter the term "TSG content" will mean Total Steviol Glycosides (TSG) content, and it will be calculated as the sum of the concentrations of Rebaudioside A, Rebaudioside B, Rebaudioside C, Rebaudioside D, Rebaudioside E, Rebaudioside F, Rebaudioside M, Rebaudioside N, Rebaudioside O, Stevioside, Steviolbioside, Dulcoside A and Rubusoside on a wt/wt dry basis.

Hereinafter the term "relative concentration" will mean the percent ratio of the concentration of Rebaudioside A, Rebaudioside B, Rebaudioside C, Rebaudioside D, Rebaudioside E, Rebaudioside F, Rebaudioside M, Rebaudioside N, Rebaudioside O, Stevioside, Steviolbioside, Dulcoside A, or Rubusoside (on a wt/wt dry basis) to Total Steviol Glycosides (TSG) content. For example if the composition comprises 10% RebO, 40% Stev, 0% RebA, 0% RebB, 0% RebC, 0% RebD, 0% RebE, 0% RebF, 0% RebM, 0% RebN, 0% Sbio, 0%) DulA and 0% Rub (all concentration being % wt/wt on dry basis) the TSG content of the composition will be 50% (wt/wt on dry basis). Since the concentration of RebO is 10% (wt/wt on dry basis) the relative concentration of RebO will be 20% and will be calculated as follows:

Relative concentration of RebO (%) = {concentration of RebO (% wt/wt on dry basis)/ TSG content (% wt/wt on dry basis)| x 100%

Similarly the relative concentrations of other glycosides can be calculated. The "common relative concentration" shall refer to the relative concentration of steviol glycosides occurring in known varieties and untreated aqueous extracts of Stevia rehaudicma plants. As used herein, "untreated aqueous extract(s)" shall refer to an extract or extracts from Stevia rebaudiana plants that has or have not been subjected to techniques used to purify, isolate or further concentrate a certain steviol glycoside, or a group of steviol glycosides, from the extract.

Hereinafter the term "relative ratio" will mean the ratio of the concentration of one steviol glycoside to another. For example if the composition comprises 10% RebO, 40% Stev, 0% RebA, 0% RebB, 0% RebC, 0% RebD, 0% RebE, 0% RebF, 0% RebM, 0% RebN, 0% Sbio, 0% DulA and 0% Rub (all concentration being % wt/wt on dry basis) the relative ratio of RebO to Stevioside will be 0.25 and will be calculated as follows:

Relative ratio of RebO to Stev = concentration of RebO (% wt/wt on dry basis) / concentration of Stev (% wt/wt on d ry basis)

In the invention, Stevia rebaudiana plant biomass, particularly the dry leaves, were used as a starting material. Optionally the leaves may be not dried as well. The leaves may be optionally ground into fine powder. However not only the leaves but also the other parts of the Stevia rebaudiana plant such as stems, roots, flowers etc. or combinations thereof may be used as starting material. The process for preparing steviol glycosides compositions may comprise the steps of:

a) providing Stevia rebaiidiana leaves, wherein Stevia rebaudiana leaves comprise at least one steviol glycoside selected from the group consisting of RebE, RebM, RebD, RebN, and RebO, wherein the steviol glycoside is present above common relative concentration, b) providing solvent;

c) contacting the Stevia rebaiidiana leaves with solvent to extract the steviol glycosides from the leaves;

d) separating the Stevia rebaudiana leaves to obtain Stevia extract solution comprising at least one steviol glycoside selected from the group consisting of RebE, RebM, RebD, RebN, and RebO, wherein the steviol glycoside is present above common relative concentration, HSG-Extract.

The solvent may be water, alcohol, aqueous alcohol, or any other solvent known to be used in production of stevia extracts or plant extracts.

The process may further include other refining and purification techniques or processes known to be used in production of steviol glycosides. Non limiting examples include, flocculation, ion-exchange resin treatment, membrane filtration, macroporous adsorption resin treatment, activated carbon treatment, chromatographic separation, crystallization, centrifugation, blending, drying, milling, sieving, granulation, agglomeration, solubilisation, in any order or step numbers.

The present invention provides stevia compositions called "HSG Extracts" comprising at least one of the steviol glycosides selected from the group including Rebaudioside E, Rebaudioside D, Rebaudioside M, Rebaudioside N, Rebaudioside O, or combinations thereof, wherein the at least one of the steviol glycosides selected from the group including RebE, RebD, RebM, RebN, RebO, is present in a relative concentration higher than the common relative concentration occurring in known varieties and/or untreated aqueous extracts of Stevia rebaudiana plant.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a process for preparing compositions comprising steviol glycosides from Stevia rebaudiana biomass. The present invention also relates to the use of compositions comprising steviol glycosides as a sweetener and/or flavor enhancer. The present invention provides new cultivars of Stevia rebaudiana plant, comprising at least one of the steviol glycosides selected from the group including Rebaudioside E, Rebaudioside D, Rebaudioside M, Rebaudioside N, Rebaudioside O, or combinations thereof, wherein the at least one of the steviol glycosides selected from the group including RebE, RebD, RebM, RebN, RebO, is present in a relative concentration higher than the common relative concentration occurring in known varieties and untreated aqueous extracts of Stevia rebaudiana plant.

In a particular embodiment the new cultivars are the cultivars named Stevia rebaudiana 81401 1 , 807086, 817096, which are obtained by selective breeding of Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant.

Generation of Stevia plants with the desirable characteristics described herein can be accomplished by growing from the callus culture deposited at China General Microbiological Culture Center (CGMCC, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101 , China; Tel.: 86- 10-64807355, Fax: 86- 10- 64807288), and assigned deposit No. 9701 for Stevia rebaudiana cultivar 81401 1 , No. 9702 for Stevia rebaudiana cultivar 807086, and No. 9703 for Stevia rebaudiana cultivar 817096.

It is also possible to generate varieties and lines of Stevia using at least one of the deposited lines by either conventional cross breeding techniques or molecular techniques to transfer one or more genetic elements (genes, promoters, protein coding sequences, and the like) to other Stevia plants.

Alternatively, it is possible to generate new Stevia plants through either classical selection and cross breeding alone, or in combination with chemical or radiation induced mutation using at least one Stevia rebaudiana cultivar selected from group including 81401 1 , 807086, 817096 and/ or seeds thereof.

In one embodiment, new cultivars of Stevia rebaudiana plants are F l , F2, F3, or subsequent progeny of at least one Stevia rebaudiana cultivar selected from group including 81401 1 , 807086, 817096.

In another embodiment, high RebD plants are the first generation or subsequent progeny of at least one Stevia rebaudiana cultivar selected from group including 81401 1 , 807086, 817096 whose seeds were subjected to chemical or radiation mutagenesis.

In another embodiment, a method of cross breeding new high RebM cultivars of Stevia rebaudiana is disclosed. In said cross breeding method one parent plant is a cultivar having low rebM, high RebE and high RebD content (e.g. 817096) and the other parent is a cultivar having high rebM content (e.g. 81401 1).

In one embodiment, new high RebM cultivars of Stevia rebaudiana plants are Fl , F2, F3, or subsequent progeny of Stevia rebaudiana cultivars 81401 1 and 817096.

In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of RebE in dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 1 .0%.

In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of RebM in dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 1.4%.

In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of RebD in dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 2.4%.

In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of RebN in dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 1.6%.

In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of RebO in dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 0.8%.

In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of at least on compound selected from the group including RebD2, RebG, RebH, Rebl, RebJ, RebK, RebL, RebM2, RebP, RebQ RebR, RebS, RebT, RebU, RebV, RebW, RebX, RebY, RebZ, and other glycoside of steviol in dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 0.1 %.

In one embodiment the dried leaves of at least one Stevia rebaudiana cultivar selected from group 81401 1 , 807086, 817096 are subjected to aqueous extraction (e.g. according to procedure described in US 13/122,232) to prepare stevia compositions called "HSG-Extracts". Any other extraction method can be used as well.

The present invention provides stevia compositions called "HSG-Extracts" comprising at least one steviol glycoside selected from the group consisting of RebE, RebM, RebD, RebN, and RebO, wherein the steviol glycoside is present above common relative concentration occurring in known varieties and untreated aqueous extracts of Stevia rebaudiana plant, and wherein for RebE this common relative concentration is 1.0%, for RebM 1.4%, for RebD 2.4%, for RebN 1 .6%, and for RebO 0.8%. In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of RebE in "HSG-Extract", produced by aqueous extraction of dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 1.0%.

In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of RebM in "HSG-Extract", produced by aqueous extraction of dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 1.4%.

In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of RebD in "HSG-Extract", produced by aqueous extraction of dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 2.4%.

In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of RebN in "HSG-Extract", produced by aqueous extraction of dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 1.6%.

In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of RebO in "HSG-Extract", produced by aqueous extraction of dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 0.8%.

In a particular embodiment the relative concentration of at least on compound selected from the group including RebD2, RebG, RebH, Rebl, RebJ, RebK, RebL, RebM2, RebP, RebQ RebR, RebS, RebT, RebU, RebV, RebW, RebX, RebY, RebZ, and other glycoside of steviol in "HSG-Extract", produced by aqueous extraction of dried leaves of new Stevia rebaudiana cultivar is at least 0.1 %.

Optionally, the method of the present invention further comprises purifying RebE, RebM, RebD, RebN, and RebO from the HSG-Extract. Any suitable purification method can be used, such as, for example, crystallization, separation by membranes, centrifugation, extraction (liquid or solid phase), chromatographic separation, HPLC (preparative or analytical) or a combination of such methods.

In one embodiment, the HSG-Extract is provided as part of a mixture. In a particular embodiment, the mixture is selected from the group consisting of a mixture of steviol glycosides, a Stevia extract, by-products of other steviol glycosides' isolation and purification processes, or any combination thereof. In one embodiment, the mixture contains HSG-Extract in an amount that ranges from about 10% to about 99% by weight on a dry basis, such as, for example, fr om about 20% to about 99%, from about 30% to about 99%, from about 40% to about 99%, from about 50% to about 99%, from about 60% to about 99%, from about 70% to about 99%, from about 80% to about 99% and from about 90% to about 99%. In a particular embodiment, the mixture contains HSG-Extract in an amount greater than about 90% by weight on a dry basis, for example, greater than about 91 %, greater than about 92%, greater than about 93%, greater than about 94%, greater than about 95%, greater than about 96%, greater than about 97%, greater than about 98% and greater than about 99%.

In one embodiment the HSG-extract contains one or more additional steviol glycosides including, but not limited to, naturally occurring steviol glycosides, e.g. steviolmonoside, steviolbioside, rubusoside, dulcoside B, dulcoside A, rebaudioside B, rebaudioside G, stevioside, rebaudioside C, rebaudioside F, rebaudioside A, rebaudioside I, rebaudioside E, rebaudioside H, rebaudioside L, rebaudioside K, rebaudioside J, rebaudioside M, rebaudioside M2, rebaudioside D, rebaudioside D2, rebaudioside N, rebaudioside O, synthetic steviol glycosides, e.g. enzymatically glucosylated steviol glycosides and combinations thereof.

HSG-Extract can be present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 1 ppm to about 10,000 ppm when the composition is added to a consumable, such as, for example, from about 1 ppm to about 4.000 ppm, from about 1 ppm to about 3,000 ppm, from about 1 ppm to about 2,000 ppm, from about 1 ppm to about 1 ,000 ppm. In another embodiment, a HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 10 ppm to about 1 ,000 ppm when the composition is added to a consumable, such as, for example, from about 10 ppm to about 800 ppm, from about 50 ppm to about 800 ppm, from about 50 ppm to about 600 ppm or from about 200 ppm to about 250 ppm. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 300 ppm to about 600 ppm when the composition is added to a consumable. Sweetener Compositions

In one embodiment, the present invention is a sweetener composition comprising HSG-Extract. "'Sweetener composition," as used herein, refers to a composition useful to sweeten a sweetenable composition (i.e. a composition that can be sweetened) that contains at least one sweet component in combination with at least one other substance.

In one embodiment, HSG-Extract is the sole sweetener in the sweetener composition, i.e. HSG-Extract is the only compound present in the sweetener composition that provides a detectable sweetness. In another embodiment, the sweetener composition includes a compound of HSG-Extract in combination with one or more sweetener compounds.

The amount of HSG-Extract in the sweetener composition may vary. In one embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in a sweetener composition in any amount to impart the desired sweetness when the sweetener composition is added to a sweetenable composition or sweetenable consumable.

The sweetness of a non-sucrose sweetener can also be measured against a sucrose reference by determining the non-sucrose sweetener's sucrose equivalence. Typically, taste panelists are trained to detect sweetness of reference sucrose solutions containing between 1 - 15% sucrose (w/v). Other non-sucrose sweeteners are then tasted at a series of dilutions to determine the concentration of the non-sucrose sweetener that is as sweet as a given percent sucrose reference. For example, if a 1 % solution of a sweetener is as sweet as a 10% sucrose solution, then the sweetener is said to be 10 times as potent as sucrose.

In one embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the sweetener composition in an amount effective to provide a sucrose equivalence of greater than about 10% (w/v) when the sweetener composition is added to a sweetenable composition or sweetenable consumable, such as, for example, greater than about 1 1%, greater than about 12%, greater than about 13% or greater than about 14%.

The amount of sucrose, and thus another measure of sweetness, in a reference solution may be described in degrees Brix (°Bx). One degree Brix is 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution and represents the strength of the solution as percentage by weight (% w/w) (strictly speaking, by mass). In one embodiment, a sweetener composition comprises HSG- Extract in an amount effective to provide sweetness equivalent from about 0.50 to 14 degrees Brix of sugar when present in a sweetened composition, such as, for example, from about 5 to about 1 1 degrees Brix, from about 4 to about 7 degrees Brix, or about 5 degrees Brix. In yet another embodiment a composition comprising HSG-Extract is present with at least one other sweetener in an amount effective to provide any one of the sweetness equivalents listed above. In one embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the sweetener composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 1 ppm to about 10,000 ppm when the sweetener composition is added to a consumable (e.g., a beverage), such as, for example, from about 1 ppm to about 4,000 ppm, from about 1 ppm to about 3,000 ppm, from about 1 ppm to about 2,000 ppm, from about 1 ppm to about 1 ,000 ppm. In another embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the sweetener composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 10 ppm to about 1 ,000 ppm when the composition is added to a consumable, such as, for example, from about 10 ppm to about 800 ppm, from about 50 ppm to about 800 ppm, from about 50 ppm to about 600 ppm or from about 200 ppm to about 250 ppm. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the sweetener composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 300 ppm to about 600 ppm when the sweetener composition is added to the consumable.

In some embodiments, HSG-Extract is present in the sweetener composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration of the compound that is above, at or below its threshold sweetener recognition level when the sweetener composition is added to a consumable (e.g., a beverage).

Flavor Enhancing Compositions

In one aspect, the present invention is a flavor enhancing composition comprising HSG-Extract.

"Flavor enhancer compositions," as used herein, refers to a composition capable of enhancing or intensifying the perception of a particular flavor in a consumable. The terms "flavor enhancing compositions" or "flavor enhancer" are synonymous with the terms "flavor potentiator," "flavor amplifier," and "flavor intensifier." Generally, the flavor enhancing composition provided herein may enhance or potentiate the taste of flavor ingredients, i.e. any substance that provides sweetness, sourness, saltiness, savoriness, bitterness, metallic taste, astringency, sweet lingering aftertaste, sweetness onset, etc. Without being bound by any theory, the flavor enhancing composition likely does not contribute any noticeable taste to the consumable to which it is added because HSG-Extract is present in the consumable in a concentration at or below its flavor recognition threshold concentration.

"Flavor recognition threshold concentration," as used herein, refers to the lowest concentration at which the particular flavor or off-taste of a component (e.g., a compound) is perceptible in a consumable. The flavor recognition threshold concentration varies for different compounds, and may be varied with respect to the individual perceiving the flavor or the particular consumable.

In one embodiment, the flavor enhancing composition comprises HSG-Extract in an amount effective to provide a concentration that is at or below the threshold flavor recognition concentration of HSG-Extract when the flavor enhancing composition is added to a consumable.

In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the flavor-enhancing composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration that is below the threshold flavor recognition concentration of HSG-Extract when the flavor enhancing composition is added to a consumable.

In certain embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the flavor enhancing composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration that is at least about 1 %, at least about 5%, at least about 10%, at least about 15%, at least about 20%, at least about 25%, at least about 30%, at least about 35%, at least about 40%, at least about 45% or at least about 50% or more below the threshold flavor recognition concentration when the flavor enhancing composition is added to a consumable.

In some embodiments, HSG-Extract is present in the flavor enhancing composition in an amount that, when added to the consumable, will provide a concentration of ranging from about 0.5 ppm to about 1000 ppm. For example, HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount that, when added to the consumable, will provide a concentration ranging from about 1 ppm to about 300 ppm, from about 0.1 ppm to about 75 ppm, or from about 500 ppm to about 3,000 ppm.

A person of skill in the art will be able to select the concentration of HSG-Extract in the flavor enhancing composition so that it may impart an enhanced flavor to a consumable comprising at least one flavor ingredient. For example, a skilled artisan may select a concentration for HSG-Extract in the flavor enhancing composition so that the flavor enhancing composition and/or the HSG-Extract does not impart any perceptible flavor to a consumable when the flavor enhancing composition is added thereto.

In one embodiment, addition of the flavor enhancing composition increases the detected flavor of the at least one flavor ingredient in the consumable compared to the detected flavor of the same ingredient in the consumable in the absence of the flavor enhancer.

Suitable flavor ingredients include, but are not limited to, vanillin, vanilla extract, mango extract, cinnamon, citrus, coconut, ginger, viridiflorol, almond, menthol (including menthol without mint), grape skin extract, and grape seed extract. "Flavorant" and "flavoring ingredient" are synonymous and can include natural or synthetic substances or combinations thereof. Flavorants also include any other substance which imparts flavor and may include natural or non-natural (synthetic) substances which are safe for human or animals when used in a generally accepted range. Non-limiting examples of proprietary flavorants include Dohler™ Natural Flavoring Sweetness Enhancer K 14323 (Dohler™, Darmstadt, Germany), Symrise™ Natural Flavor Mask for Sweeteners 161453 and 164126 (Symrise™, Holzminden, Germany), Natural Advantage™ Bitterness Blockers 1 , 2, 9 and 10 (Natural Advantage™, Freehold, New Jersey, U.S.A.), and Sucramask™ (Creative Research Management, Stockton, California, U.S.A.).

In another embodiment, the flavor enhancer composition comprising HSG-Extract enhances flavors (either individual flavors or the overall flavor) when added to the consumable. Alternatively, HSG-Extract may be added directly to the consumable, i.e., not provided in the form of a composition, to enhance flavor. In this embodiment, HSG-Extract is a flavor enhancer and it is added to the consumable at a concentration at or below its threshold flavor recognition concentration.

In a particular embodiment, the flavor enhancing composition is a sweetness enhancing composition. "Sweetness enhancing composition," as used herein, refers to a composition capable of enhancing or intensifying the perception of sweet taste of a consumable, such as a beverage. The term "sweetness enhancer" is synonymous with the terms "sweet taste potentiator," "sweetness potentiator," "sweetness amplifier," and "sweetness intensifier."

"Sweetness recognition threshold concentration," as used herein, is the lowest known concentration of a sweet compound that is perceivable by the human sense of taste. Generally, the sweetness enhancing composition of the present invention may enhance or potentiate the sweet taste of a consumable without providing any noticeable sweet taste itself because the concentration of HSG-Extract in the sweetness enhancing composition is at or below its sweetness recognition threshold concentration, either in the sweetness enhancing compositions, the consumable after the sweetness enhancing composition has been added, or both. The sweetness recognition threshold concentration is specific for a particular compound, and can vary based on temperature, matrix, ingredients and/or flavor system.

In one embodiment, a sweetness enhancing composition comprises HSG-Extract in an amount effective to provide a concentration that is at or below the threshold sweetness recognition concentration of HSG-Extract when the sweetness enhancing composition is added to a consumable.

In a particular embodiment, a sweetness enhancing composition comprises HSG- Extract in an amount effective to provide a concentration that is below the threshold sweetness recognition concentration of HSG-Extract when the sweetness enhancing composition is added to a consumable.

In certain embodiments, HSG-Extract is present in the sweetness enhancing composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration that is at least about 1 %, at least about 5%, at least about 10%, at least about 15%, at least about 20%, at least about 25%, at least about 30%, at least about 35%, at least about 40%o, at least about 45%> or at least about 50% or more below the threshold sweetness recognition concentration of HSG-Extract when the sweetness enhancing composition is added to a consumable.

In some embodiments, HSG-Extract is present in the sweetness enhancing composition in an amount that, when added to the consumable, will provide a concentration of the compound of HSG-Extract ranging from about 0.5 ppm to about 1000 ppm. For example, HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount that, when added to the consumable, will provide a concentration ranging from about 1 ppm to about 300 ppm, from about 0. 1 ppm to about 75 ppm, or from about 500 ppm to about 3,000 ppm. Alternatively, HSG-Extract may be added directly to the consumable, i.e., not provided in the form of a composition, to enhance sweetness. In this embodiment, HSG-Extract is a sweetness enhancer and it is added to the consumable at a concentration at or below its sweetness recognition threshold concentration.

The sweetness of a given composition is typically measured with reference to a solution of sucrose. See generally "A Systematic Study of Concentration-Response Relationships of Sweeteners," G.E. DuBois, D.E. Walters, S.S. Schiffman, Z.S. Warwick, B.J. Booth, S.D. Pecore, K. Gibes, B.T. Carr, and L.M. Brands, in Sweeteners: Discovery, Molecular Design and Chemoreceplion, D.E. Walters, F.T. Orthoefer, and G.E. DuBois, Eds., American Chemical Society, Washington, DC (1991 ), pp 261 -276.

It is contemplated that the sweetness enhancing composition can include one or more sweetness enhancers in addition to HSG-Extract. In one embodiment, the sweetness enhancing composition can include one additional sweetness enhancer. In other embodiments, the sweetness enhancing composition can include two or more additional sweetness enhancers. In embodiments where two or more sweetness enhancers are utilized, each sweetness enhancer should be present below its respective sweetness recognition threshold concentration.

Suitable sweetness enhancers include, but are not limited to, the group consisting of 2-hydroxybenzoic acid, 3-hydroxybenzoic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, 2,4- dihydroxybenzoic acid, 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid, 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid, 2,6- dihydroxybenzoic acid, 2,3,4-trihydroxybenzoic acid, 2,4,6-trihydroxybenzoic acid, 3- aminobenzoic acid, 4-aminobenzoic acid, FEMA GRAS enhancer 4469, FEMA GRAS enhancer 4701 , FEMA GRAS enhancer 4720, FEMA GRAS enhancer 4774, FEMA GRAS enhancer 4708, FEMA GRAS enhancer 4728, FEMA GRAS enhancer 4601 and combinations thereof.

Suitable sweeteners include, but are not limited to, sucrose, glyceraldehyde, dihydroxyacetone, erythrose, threose, erythrulose, arabinose, lyxose, ribose, xylose, ribulose, xylulose, allose, altrose, galactose, glucose, gulose, idose, mannose, talose, fructose, psicose, sorbose, tagatose, mannoheptulose, sedoheltulose, octolose, fucose, rhamnose, arabinose, turanose, sialose, rebaudioside A, rebaudioside B, rebaudioside C, rebaudioside D, rebaudioside E, rebaudioside F, rebaudioside H, rebaudioside L, rebaudioside K, rebaudioside J, rebaudioside N, rebaudioside O, dulcoside A, dulcoside B, rubusoside, stevia, stevioside, mogroside IV, mogroside V, Lao hem g o, siamenoside, monatin and its salts (monatin SS, RR, RS, SR), curculin, glycyrrhizic acid and its salts, thaumatin, monellin, mabinlin, brazzein, hernandulcin, phyllodulcin, glycyphyllin, phloridzin, trilobatin, baiyunoside, osladin, polypodoside A, pterocaryoside A, pterocaryoside B, mukurozioside, phlomisoside I, periandrin I, abrusoside A, steviolbioside and cyclocarioside I, sugar alcohols such as erythritol, sucralose, potassium acesulfame, acesulfame acid and salts thereof, aspartame, alitame, saccharin and salts thereof, neohesperidin dihydrochalcone, cyclamate, cyclamic acid and salts thereof, neotame, advantame, glucosylated steviol glycosides (GSGs) and combinations thereof.

In one embodiment, the sweetener is a caloric sweetener or mixture of caloric sweeteners. In another embodiment, the caloric sweetener is selected from sucrose, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn/starch syrup, a beet sugar, a cane sugar, and combinations thereof.

In another embodiment, the sweetener is a rare sugar selected from D-psicose, D- allose, L-ribose, D-tagatose, L-glucose, L-fucose, L-arbinose, turanose and combinations thereof.

In yet another embodiment, the sweetener is a non-caloric sweetener or mixture of non-caloric sweeteners. In one example, the non-caloric sweetener is a natural high-potency sweetener. As used herein, the phrase "natural high potency sweetener" refers to any composition which is not found naturally in nature and characteristically has a sweetness potency greater than sucrose, fructose, or glucose, yet has less calories. The natural high potency sweetener can be provided as a pure compound or, alternatively, as part of an extract.

In yet another example, the non-caloric sweetener is a synthetic high-potency sweetener. As used herein, the phrase "synthetic sweetener" refers to any composition which is not found naturally in nature and characteristically has a sweetness potency greater than sucrose, fructose, or glucose, yet has less calories.

In one embodiment, addition of the sweetness enhancer increases the detected sucrose equivalence of the at least one sweetener in a consumable compared to the sucrose equivalence of the same consumable in the absence of the sweetness enhancer.

In a particular embodiment, the consumable is a beverage. The beverage comprises HSG-Extract and at least one sweetener, wherein HSG-Extract is present in a concentration at or below its sweetness recognition threshold. The HSG-Extract and at least one sweetener can each be provided separately, or provided in the form of a sweetness enhancing composition. In a particular embodiment, the detected sucrose equivalence is increased from, for example, about 0.2% to about 5.0%, such as, for example, about 1 %, about 2%, about 3%, about 4% or about 5%.

The sweetener can be any natural or synthetic sweetener provided herein. In a particular embodiment, the sweetener is a calorie-providing carbohydrate sweetener. Accordingly, incorporation of the sweetness enhancer thereby reduces the quantity of the caloric-providing carbohydrate sweetener that must be used in a given consumable, thereby allowing the preparation of reduced-calorie consumables.

The compositions can be customized to provide the desired calorie content. For example, compositions can be "full-calorie", such that they impart the desired sweetness when added to a consumable (such as, for example, a beverage) and have about 120 calories per 8 oz serving. Alternatively, compositions can be "mid-calorie", such that they impart the desired sweetness when added to a consumable (such as, for example, as beverage) and have less than about 60 calories per 8 oz serving. In other embodiments, compositions can be "low-calorie", such that they impart the desired sweetness when added to a consumable (such as, for example, as beverage) and have less than 40 calories per 8 oz serving. In still other embodiments, the compositions can be "zero-calorie", such that they impart the desired sweetness when added to a consumable (such as, for example, a beverage) and have less than 5 calories per 8 oz. serving. Additives

The compositions, e.g. sweetener compositions and flavor enhanced compositions may comprise, in addition to HSG-Extract, one or more additives, detailed herein below. In some embodiments, the composition contains additives including, but not limited to, carbohydrates, polyols, amino acids and their corresponding salts, poly-amino acids and their corresponding salts, sugar acids and their corresponding salts, nucleotides, organic acids, inorganic acids, organic salts including organic acid salts and organic base salts, inorganic salts, bitter compounds, flavorants and flavoring ingredients, astringent compounds, proteins or protein hydrolysates, surfactants, emulsifiers, weighing agents, gums, antioxidants, colorants, flavonoids, alcohols, polymers and combinations thereof. In some embodiments, the additives act to improve the temporal and flavor profile of the sweetener to provide a sweetener composition with a taste similar to sucrose.

In one embodiment, the compositions further comprise contain one or more polyols. The term "polyol", as used herein, refers to a molecule that contains more than one hydroxyl group. A polyol may be a diol, triol, or a tetraol which contains 2, 3, and 4 hydroxyl groups respectively. A polyol also may contain more than 4 hydroxyl groups, such as a pentaol, hexaol, heptaol, or the like, which contain 5, 6, or 7 hydroxyl groups, respectively. Additionally, a polyol also may be a sugar alcohol, polyhydric alcohol, or polyalcohol which is a reduced form of carbohydrate, wherein the carbonyl group (aldehyde or ketone, reducing sugar) has been reduced to a primary or secondary hydroxyl group.

Non-limiting examples of polyols in some embodiments include erythritol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, lactitol, xylitol, isomalt, propylene glycol, glycerol (glycerin), threitol, galactitol, palatinose, reduced isomalto-oligosaccharides, reduced xylo-oligosaccharides, reduced gentio-oligosaccharides, reduced maltose syrup, reduced glucose syrup, and sugar alcohols or any other carbohydrates capable of being reduced which do not adversely affect the taste of the compositions.

In certain embodiments, the polyol is present in the compositions in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 100 ppm to about 250,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage. In other embodiments, the polyol is present in the compositions in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 400 ppm to about 80,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, from about 5,000 ppm to about 40,000 ppm. In other embodiments, HSG-Extract is present in the composition with the polyol in a weight ratio from about 1 : 1 to about 1 :800, such as, for example, from about 1 :4 to about 1 :800, from about 1 :20 to about 1 :600, from about 1 :50 to about 1 :300 or from about 1 :75 to about 1 : 1 50.

Suitable amino acid additives include, but are not limited to, aspartic acid, arginine, glycine, glutamic acid, proline, threonine, theanine, cysteine, cystine, alanine, valine, tyrosine, leucine, arabinose, trans-4-hydroxyprol ine, isoleucine, asparagine, serine, lysine, histidine, ornithine, methionine, carnitine, aminobutyric acid (α-, β-, and/or δ-isomers), glutamine, hydroxyproline, taurine, norvaline, sarcosine, and their salt forms such as sodium or potassium salts or acid salts. The amino acid additives also may be in the D- or L- configuration and in the mono-, di-, or tri-form of the same or different amino acids. Additionally, the amino acids may be α-, β-, γ- and/or δ-isomers if appropriate. Combinations of the foregoing amino acids and their corresponding salts (e.g., sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium salts or other alkali or alkaline earth metal salts thereof, or acid salts) also are suitable additives in some embodiments. The amino acids may be natural or synthetic. The amino acids also may be modified. Modified amino acids refers to any amino acid wherein at least one atom has been added, removed, substituted, or combinations thereof (e.g., N-alkyl amino acid, N-acyl amino acid, or N-methyl amino acid). Non-limiting examples of modified amino acids include amino acid derivatives such as trimethyl glycine, N-methyl-glycine, and N-methyl-alanine. As used herein, modified amino acids encompass both modified and unmodified amino acids. As used herein, am ino acids also encompass both peptides and polypeptides (e.g., dipeptides, tripeptides, tetrapeptides, and pentapeptides) such as glutathione and L-alanyl-L-glutamine. Suitable polyamino acid additives include poly-L- aspartic acid, poly-L-lysine (e.g., poly-L-a-lysine or poly-L-e-lysine), poly-L-ornithine (e.g., poly-L- ' a-ornithine or poly-L-H e-ornithine), poly-L-arginine, other polymeric forms of amino acids, and salt forms thereof (e.g., calcium, potassium, sodium, or magnesium salts such as L-glutamic acid mono sodium salt). The poly-amino acid additives also may be in the D- or L-configuration. Additionally, the poly-amino acids may be α-, β-, γ-, δ-, and ε-isomers if appropriate. Combinations of the foregoing poly-amino acids and their corresponding salts (e.g., sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium salts or other alkali or alkaline earth metal salts thereof or acid salts) also are suitable additives in some embodiments. The poly-amino acids described herein also may comprise co-polymers of different amino acids. The poly- amino acids may be natural or synthetic. The poly-amino acids also may be modified, such that at least one atom has been added, removed, substituted, or combinations thereof (e.g., N- alkyl poly-amino acid or N-acyl poly-amino acid). As used herein, poly-amino acids encompass both modified and unmodified poly-amino acids. For example, modified poly- amino acids include, but are not limited to, poly-amino acids of various molecular weights (MW), such as poly-L-a-lysine with a MW of 1 ,500, MW of 6,000, MW of 25,200, MW of 63,000, MW of 83,000, or MW of 300,000.

In particular embodiments, the amino acid is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 10 ppm to about 50,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage. In another embodiment, the amino acid is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 1 ,000 ppm to about 10,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, from about 2,500 ppm to about 5,000 ppm or from about 250 ppm to about 7,500 ppm.

Suitable sugar acid additives include, but are not limited to, aldonic, uronic, aldaric, alginic, gluconic, glucuronic, glucaric, galactaric, galacturonic, and salts thereof (e.g., sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium salts or other physiologically acceptable salts), and combinations thereof.

Suitable nucleotide additives include, but are not limited to, inosine monophosphate ("IMP"), guanosine monophosphate ("GMP"), adenosine monophosphate ("AMP"), cytosine monophosphate (CMP), uracil monophosphate (UMP), inosine diphosphate, guanosine diphosphate, adenosine diphosphate, cytosine diphosphate, uracil diphosphate, inosine triphosphate, guanosine triphosphate, adenosine triphosphate, cytosine triphosphate, uracil triphosphate, alkali or alkaline earth metal salts thereof, and combinations thereof. The nucleotides described herein also may comprise nucleotide-related additives, such as nucleosides or nucleic acid bases (e.g., guanine, cytosine, adenine, thymine, uracil).

The nucleotide is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 5 ppm to about 1 ,000 ppm when present in consumable, such as, for example, a beverage.

Suitable organic acid additives include any compound which comprises a -COOH moiety, such as, for example, C2-C30 carboxylic acids, substituted hydroxyl C2-C30 carboxyl ic acids, butyric acid (ethyl esters), substituted butyric acid (ethyl esters), benzoic acid, substituted benzoic acids (e.g. , 2,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid), substituted cinnamic acids, hydroxyacids, substituted hydroxybenzoic acids, anisic acid substituted cyclohexyl carboxylic acids, tannic acid, aconitic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, citric acid, isocitric acid, gluconic acid, glucoheptonic acids, adipic acid, hydroxycitric acid, malic acid, fruitaric acid (a blend of malic, fumaric, and tartaric acids), fumaric acid, maleic acid, succinic acid, chlorogenic acid, salicylic acid, creatine, caffeic acid, bile acids, acetic acid, ascorbic acid, alginic acid, erythorbic acid, polyglutamic acid, glucono delta lactone, and their alkali or alkaline earth metal salt derivatives thereof. In addition, the organic acid additives also may be in either the D- or L-configuration.

Suitable organic acid additive salts include, but are not limited to, sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium salts of all organic acids, such as salts of citric acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, fumaric acid, lactic acid (e.g., sodium lactate), alginic acid (e.g., sodium alginate), ascorbic acid (e.g., sodium ascorbate), benzoic acid (e.g., sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate), sorbic acid and adipic acid. The examples of the organic acid additives described optionally may be substituted with at least one group chosen from hydrogen, alkyl, alkenyl, alkynyl, halo, haloalkyl, carboxyl, acyl, acyloxy, amino, amido, carboxyl derivatives, alkylamino, dialkylamino, arylamino, alkoxy, aryloxy, nitro, cyano, sulfo, thiol, imine, sulfonyl, sulfenyl, sulfinyl, sulfamyl, carboxalkoxy, carboxamido, phosphonyl, phosphinyl, phosphoryl, phosphino, thioester, thioether, anhydride, oximino, hydrazino, carbamyl, phosphor or phosphonato. In particular embodiments, the organic acid additive is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 10 ppm to about 5,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage.

Suitable inorganic acid additives include, but are not limited to, phosphoric acid, phosphorous acid, polyphosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, carbonic acid, sodium dihydrogen phosphate, and alkali or alkaline earth metal salts thereof (e.g. , inositol hexaphosphate Mg/Ca).

The inorganic acid additive is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 25 ppm to about 25,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage.

Suitable bitter compound additives include, but are not lim ited to, caffeine, quinine, urea, bitter orange oil, naringin, quassia, and salts thereof.

The bitter compound is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 25 ppm to about 25,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage.

Suitable flavorants and flavoring ingredient additives include, but are not limited to, vanil lin, vanilla extract, mango extract, cinnamon, citrus, coconut, ginger, viridiflorol, almond, menthol (including menthol without mint), grape skin extract, and grape seed extract. "Flavorant" and "flavoring ingredient" are synonymous and can include natural or synthetic substances or combinations thereof. Flavorants also include any other substance which imparts flavor and may include natural or non-natural (synthetic) substances which are safe for human or animals when used in a generally accepted range. Non-limiting examples of proprietary flavorants include Dohler™ Natural Flavoring Sweetness Enhancer 14323 (Dohler™, Darmstadt, Germany), Symrise™ Natural Flavor Mask for Sweeteners 161453 and 164126 (Symrise™, Holzminden, Germany), Natural Advantage™ Bitterness Blockers 1 , 2, 9 and 10 (Natural Advantage™, Freehold, New Jersey, U.S.A.), and Sucramask™ (Creative Research Management, Stockton, California, U.S.A.).

The flavorant is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 0.1 ppm to about 4,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage.

Suitable polymer additives include, but are not limited to, chitosan, pectin, pectic, pectinic, polyuronic, polygalacturonic acid, starch, food hydrocolloid or crude extracts thereof (e.g., gum acacia Senegal (Fibergum™), gum acacia seyal, carageenan), poly-L-lysine (e.g., poly-L-a-lysine or poly-L-e-lysine), poly-L-ornithine (e.g., poly-L-a-ornithine or poly- L-s-ornithine), polypropylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, poly(ethylene glycol methyl ether), polyarginine, polyaspartic acid, polyglutamic acid, polyethylene imine, alginic acid, sodium alginate, propylene glycol alginate, and sodium polyethyleneglycolalginate, sodium hexametaphosphate and its salts, and other cationic polymers and anionic polymers.

The polymer is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 30 ppm to about 2,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage.

Suitable protein or protein hydrolysate additives include, but are not limited to, bovine serum albumin (BSA), whey protein (including fractions or concentrates thereof such as 90% instant whey protein isolate, 34% whey protein, 50% hydrolyzed whey protein, and 80% whey protein concentrate), soluble rice protein, soy protein, protein isolates, protein hydrolysates, reaction products of protein hydrolysates, glycoproteins, and/or proteoglycans containing amino acids (e.g., glycine, alanine, serine, threonine, asparagine, glutamine, arginine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, norvaline, methionine, proline, tyrosine, hydroxyproline, and the like), collagen (e.g., gelatin), partially hydrolyzed collagen (e.g., hydrolyzed fish collagen), and collagen hydrolysates (e.g., porcine collagen hydrolysate).

The protein hydrolysate is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 200 ppm to about 50,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage. Suitable surfactant additives include, but are not limited to, polysorbates (e.g., polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate (polysorbate 80), polysorbate 20, polysorbate 60), sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate, dioctyl sulfosuccinate or dioctyl sulfosuccinate sodium, sodium dodecyl sulfate, cetylpyridinium chloride (hexadecylpyridinium chloride), hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide, sodium cholate, carbamoyl, choline chloride, sodium glycocholate, sodium taurodeoxycholate, lauric arginate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sodium taurocholate, lecithins, sucrose oleate esters, sucrose stearate esters, sucrose palmitate esters, sucrose laurate esters, and other emulsifiers, and the like.

The surfactant additive is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 30 ppm to about 2,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage.

Suitable flavonoid additives are classified as flavonols, flavones, flavanones, flavan- 3-ols, isoflavones, or anthocyanidins. Non-limiting examples of flavonoid additives include, but are not limited to, catechins (e.g., green tea extracts such as Polyphenol!™ 60, Polyphenon™ 30, and Polyphenol!™ 25 (Mitsui Norin Co., Ltd., Japan), polyphenols, rutins (e.g., enzyme modified rutin Sanmelin™ AO (San-fi Gen F.F.I., Inc., Osaka, Japan)), neohesperidin, naringin, neohesperidin dihydrochalcone, and the like.

The flavonoid additive is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 0. 1 ppm to about 1 ,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage.

Suitable alcohol additives include, but are not limited to, ethanol. In particular embodiments, the alcohol additive is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 625 ppm to about 10,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage.

Suitable astringent compound additives include, but are not limited to, tannic acid, europium chloride (EuCl 3 ), gadolinium chloride (GdCl 3 ), terbium chloride (TbCl 3 ), alum, tannic acid, and polyphenols (e.g., tea polyphenols). The astringent additive is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration from about 10 ppm to about 5,000 ppm when present in a consumable, such as, for example, a beverage.

Functional Ingredients

The compositions provided herein can also contain one or more functional ingredients, which provide a real or perceived heath benefit to the composition. Functional ingredients include, but are not limited to, saponins, antioxidants, dietary fiber sources, fatty acids, vitamins, glucosamine, minerals, preservatives, hydration agents, probiotics, prebiotics, weight management agents, osteoporosis management agents, phytoestrogens, long chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohols, phytosterols and combinations thereof.

Saponin

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one saponin. As used herein, the at least one saponin may comprise a single saponin or a plurality of saponins as a functional ingredient for the composition provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one saponin is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

Saponins are glycosidic natural plant products comprising an aglycone ring structure and one or more sugar moieties. The combination of the nonpolar aglycone and the water soluble sugar moiety gives saponins surfactant properties, which allow them to form a foam when shaken in an aqueous solution.

The saponins are grouped together based on several common properties. In particular, saponins are surfactants which display hemolytic activity and form complexes with cholesterol. Although saponins share these properties, they are structurally diverse. The types of aglycone ring structures forming the ring structure in saponins can vary greatly. Non- limiting examples of the types of aglycone ring structures in saponin for use in particular embodiments of the invention include steroids, triterpenoids, and steroidal alkaloids. Non- limiting examples of specific aglycone ring structures for use in particular embodiments of the invention include soyasapogenol A, soyasapogenol B and soyasopogenol E. The number and type of sugar moieties attached to the aglycone ring structure can also vary greatly. Non- limiting examples of sugar moieties for use in particular embodiments of the invention include glucose, galactose, glucuronic acid, xylose, rhamnose, and methylpentose moieties. Non-limiting examples of specific saponins for use in particular embodiments of the invention include group A acetyl saponin, group B acetyl saponin, and group E acetyl saponin.

Saponins can be found in a large variety of plants and plant products, and are especially prevalent in plant skins and barks where they form a waxy protective coating. Several common sources of saponins include soybeans, which have approximately 5% saponin content by dry weight, soapwort plants (Saponaria), the root of which was used historically as soap, as well as alfalfa, aloe, asparagus, grapes, chickpeas, yucca, and various other beans and weeds. Saponins may be obtained from these sources by using extraction techniques well known to those of ordinary skill in the art. A description of conventional extraction techniques can be found in U.S. Pat. Appl. No. 2005/0123662, the disclosure of which is expressly incorporated by reference.

Antioxidant

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one antioxidant. As used herein, the at least one antioxidant may comprise a single antioxidant or a plurality of antioxidants as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one antioxidant is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

As used herein "antioxidant" refers to any substance which inhibits, suppresses, or reduces oxidative damage to cells and biomolecules. Without being bound by theory, it is believed that antioxidants inhibit, suppress, or reduce oxidative damage to cells or biomolecules by stabilizing free radicals before they can cause harmful reactions. As such, antioxidants may prevent or postpone the onset of some degenerative diseases.

Examples of suitable antioxidants for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, vitamins, vitamin cofactors, minerals, hormones, carotenoids, carotenoid terpenoids, non-carotenoid terpenoids, flavonoids, flavonoid polyphenolics (e.g., bioflavonoids), flavonols, flavones, phenols, polyphenols, esters of phenols, esters of polyphenols, nonflavonoid phenolics, isothiocyanates, and combinations thereof. In some embodiments, the antioxidant is vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, ubiquinone, mineral selenium, manganese, melatonin, oc-carotene, β-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeanthin, crypoxanthin, reservatol, eugenol, quercetin, catechin, gossypol, hesperetin, curcumin, ferulic acid, thymol, hydroxytyrosol, tumeric, thyme, olive oil, lipoic acid, glutathione, gutamine, oxalic acid, tocopherol-derived compounds, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), tert-butylhydroquinone, acetic acid, pectin, tocotrienol, tocopherol, coenzyme Q 10, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, canthaxantin, saponins, limonoids, kaempfedrol, myricetin, isorhamnetin, proanthocyanidins, quercetin, rutin, luteolin, apigenin, tangeritin, hesperetin, naringenin, erodictyol, flavan-3-ols (e.g., anthocyanidins), gallocatechins, epicatechin and its gallate forms, epigallocatechin and its gallate forms (ECGC) theaflavin and its gallate forms, thearubigins, isoflavone phytoestrogens, genistein, daidzein, glycitein, anythocyanins, cyaniding, delphinidin, malvidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, petunidin, ellagic acid, gallic acid, salicylic acid, rosmarinic acid, cinnamic acid and its derivatives (e.g., ferulic acid), chlorogenic acid, chicoric acid, gallotannins, ellagitannins, anthoxanthins, betacyanins and other plant pigments, silymarin, citric acid, lignan, antinutrients, bilirubin, uric acid, R-a-lipoic acid, N- acetylcysteine, emblicanin, apple extract, apple skin extract (applephenon), rooibos extract red, rooibos extract, green, hawthorn berry extract, red raspberry extract, green coffee antioxidant (GCA), aronia extract 20%, grape seed extract (VinOseed), cocoa extract, hops extract, mangosteen extract, mangosteen hull extract, cranberry extract, pomegranate extract, pomegranate hull extract, pomegranate seed extract, hawthorn berry extract, pomella pomegranate extract, cinnamon bark extract, grape skin extract, bilberry extract, pine bark extract, pycnogenol, elderberry extract, mulberry root extract, wolfberry (gogi) extract, blackberry extract, blueberry extract, blueberry leaf extract, raspberry extract, turmeric extract, citrus bioflavonoids, black currant, ginger, acai powder, green coffee bean extract, green tea extract, and phytic acid, or combinations thereof. In alternate embodiments, the antioxidant is a synthetic antioxidant such as butylated hydroxytolune or butylated hydroxyanisole, for example. Other sources of suitable antioxidants for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, fruits, vegetables, tea, cocoa, chocolate, spices, herbs, rice, organ meats from livestock, yeast, whole grains, or cereal grains.

Particular antioxidants belong to the class of phytonutrients called polyphenols (also known as "polyphenolics"), which are a group of chemical substances found in plants, characterized by the presence of more than one phenol group per molecule. A variety of health benefits may be derived from polyphenols, including prevention of cancer, heart disease, and chronic inflammatory disease and improved mental strength and physical strength, for example. Suitable polyphenols for embodiments of this invention include catechins, proanthocyanidins, procyanidins, anthocyanins, quercerin, rutin, reservatrol, isoflavones, curcumin, punicalagin, ellagitannin, hesperidin, naringin, citrus flavonoids, chlorogenic acid, other similar materials, and combinations thereof.

In particular embodiments, the antioxidant is a catechin such as, for example, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Suitable sources of catechins for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, green tea, white tea, black tea, oolong tea, chocolate, cocoa, red wine, grape seed, red grape skin, purple grape skin, red grape juice, purple grape juice, berries, pycnogenol, and red apple peel.

In some embodiments, the antioxidant is chosen from proanthocyanidins, procyanidins or combinations thereof. Suitable sources of proanthocyanidins and procyanidins for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, red grapes, purple grapes, cocoa, chocolate, grape seeds, red wine, cacao beans, cranberry, apple peel, plum, blueberry, black currants, choke berry, green tea, sorghum, cinnamon, barley, red kidney bean, pinto bean, hops, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachio, pycnogenol, and colorful berries.

In particular embodiments, the antioxidant is an anthocyanin. Suitable sources of anthocyanins for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, red berries, blueberries, bilberry, cranberry, raspberry, cherry, pomegranate, strawberry, elderberry, choke berry, red grape skin, purple grape skin, grape seed, red wine, black currant, red currant, cocoa, plum, apple peel, peach, red pear, red cabbage, red onion, red orange, and blackberries.

In some embodiments, the antioxidant is chosen from quercetin, rutin or combinations thereof. Suitable sources of quercetin and rutin for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, red apples, onions, kale, bog whortleberry, lingonberrys, chokeberry, cranberry, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, black currant, green tea, black tea, plum, apricot, parsley, leek, broccoli, chili pepper, berry wine, and ginkgo.

In some embodiments, the antioxidant is reservatrol. Suitable sources of reservatrol for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, red grapes, peanuts, cranberry, blueberry, bilberry, mulberry, Japanese Itadori tea, and red wine.

In particular embodiments, the antioxidant is an isoflavone. Suitable sources of isoflavones for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, soy beans, soy products, legumes, alfalfa sprouts, chickpeas, peanuts, and red clover.

In some embodiments, the antioxidant is curcumin. Suitable sources of curcumin for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, turmeric and mustard.

In particular embodiments, the antioxidant is chosen from punicalagin, ellagitannin or combinations thereof. Suitable sources of punicalagin and ellagitannin for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, pomegranate, raspberry, strawberry, walnut, and oak-aged red wine.

In some embodiments, the antioxidant is a citrus flavonoid, such as hesperidin or naringin. Suitable sources of citrus flavonoids, such as hesperidin or naringin, for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, oranges, grapefruits, and citrus juices.

In particular embodiments, the antioxidant is chlorogenic acid. Suitable sources of chlorogenic acid for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, green coffee, yerba mate, red wine, grape seed, red grape skin, purple grape skin, red grape juice, purple grape juice, apple juice, cranberry, pomegranate, blueberry, strawberry, sunflower, Echinacea, pycnogenol, and apple peel.

Dietary Fiber

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one dietary fiber source. As used herein, the at least one dietary fiber source may comprise a single dietary fiber source or a plurality of dietary fiber sources as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one dietary fiber source is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

Numerous polymeric carbohydrates having significantly different structures in both composition and linkages fall within the definition of dietary fiber. Such compounds are well known to those skilled in the art, non-limiting examples of which include non-starch polysaccharides, lignin, cellulose, methylcellulose, the hemicelluloses, β-glucans, pectins, gums, mucilage, waxes, inulins, oligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides, cyclodextrins, chitins, and combinations thereof.

Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates composed of monosaccharides joined by glycosidic linkages. Non-starch polysaccharides are bonded with β-linkages, which humans are unable to digest due to a lack of an enzyme to break the β-linkages. Conversely, digestible starch polysaccharides generally comprise a(l -4) linkages.

Lignin is a large, highly branched and cross-linked polymer based on oxygenated phenylpropane units. Cellulose is a linear polymer of glucose molecules joined by a p( 1 -4) linkage, which mammalian amylases are unable to hydrolyze. Methylcellulose is a methyl ester of cellulose that is often used in foodstuffs as a thickener, and emulsifier. It is commercially available (e.g., Citrucel by GlaxoSmithKline, Celevac by Shire Pharmaceuticals). Hemicelluloses are highly branched polymers consisting mainly of glucurono- and 4-O-methylglucuroxylans. β-Glucans are mixed-linkage ( 1 -3), ( 1 -4) β-D- glucose polymers found primarily in cereals, such as oats and barley. Pectins, such as beta pectin, are a group of polysaccharides composed primarily of D-galacturonic acid, which is methoxylated to variable degrees.

Gums and mucilages represent a broad array of different branched structures. Guar gum, derived from the ground endosperm of the guar seed, is a galactomannan. Guar gum is commercially available (e.g., Benefiber by Novartis AG). Other gums, such as gum arabic and pectins, have still different structures. Still other gums include xanthan gum, gellan gum, tara gum, psylium seed husk gum, and locust been gum. Waxes are esters of ethylene glycol and two fatty acids, generally occurring as a hydrophobic liquid that is insoluble in water.

Inulins comprise naturally occurring oligosaccharides belonging to a class of carbohydrates known as fructans. They generally are comprised of fructose units joined by β(2-1) glycosidic linkages with a terminal glucose unit. Oligosaccharides are saccharide polymers containing typically three to six component sugars. They are generally found either O- or N-linked to compatible amino acid side chains in proteins or to lipid molecules. Fructooligosaccharides are oligosaccharides consisting of short chains of fructose molecules.

Food sources of dietary fiber include, but are not limited to, grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Grains providing dietary fiber include, but are not limited to, oats, rye, barley, wheat,. Legumes providing fiber include, but are not limited to, peas and beans such as soybeans. Fruits and vegetables providing a source of fiber include, but are not limited to, apples, oranges, pears, bananas, berries, tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, celery. Plant foods such as bran, nuts, and seeds (such as flax seeds) are also sources of dietary fiber. Parts of plants providing dietary fiber include, but are not limited to, the stems, roots, leaves, seeds, pulp, and skin.

Although dietary fiber generally is derived from plant sources, indigestible animal products such as chitins are also classified as dietary fiber. Chitin is a polysaccharide composed of units of acetylglucosamine joined by β( 1 -4) linkages, similar to the linkages of cellulose.

Sources of dietary fiber often are divided into categories of soluble and insoluble fiber based on their solubility in water. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are found in plant foods to varying degrees depending upon the characteristics of the plant. Although insoluble in water, insoluble fiber has passive hydrophilic properties that help increase bulk, soften stools, and shorten transit time of fecal solids through the intestinal tract.

Unlike insoluble fiber, soluble fiber readily dissolves in water. Soluble fiber undergoes active metabolic processing via fermentation in the colon, increasing the colonic microflora and thereby increasing the mass of fecal solids. Fermentation of fibers by colonic bacteria also yields end-products with significant health benefits. For example, fermentation of the food masses produces gases and short-chain fatty acids. Acids produced during fermentation include butyric, acetic, propionic, and valeric acids that have various beneficial properties such as stabilizing blood glucose levels by acting on pancreatic insulin release and providing liver control by glycogen breakdown. In addition, fiber fermentation may reduce atherosclerosis by lowering cholesterol synthesis by the liver and reducing blood levels of LDL and triglycerides. The acids produced during fermentation lower colonic pH, thereby protecting the colon lining from cancer polyp formation. The lower colonic pH also increases mineral absorption, improves the barrier properties of the colonic mucosal layer, and inhibits inflammatory and adhesion irritants. Fermentation of fibers also may benefit the immune system by stimulating production of T-helper cells, antibodies, leukocytes, splenocytes, cytokinins and lymphocytes.

Fatty Acid

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one fatty acid. As used herein, the at least one fatty acid may be single fatty acid or a plurality of fatty acids as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one fatty acid is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

As used herein, "fatty acid" refers to any straight chain monocarboxylic acid and includes saturated fatty acids, unsaturated fatty acids, long chain fatty acids, medium chain fatty acids, short chain fatty acids, fatty acid precursors (including omega-9 fatty acid precursors), and esterified fatty acids. As used herein, "long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid" refers to any polyunsaturated carboxylic acid or organic acid with a long aliphatic tail. As used herein, "omega-3 fatty acid" refers to any polyunsaturated fatty acid having a first double bond as the third carbon-carbon bond from the terminal methyl end of its carbon chain. In particular embodiments, the omega-3 fatty acid may comprise a long chain omega-3 fatty acid. As used herein, "omega-6 fatty acid" any polyunsaturated fatty acid having a first double bond as the sixth carbon-carbon bond from the terminal methyl end of its carbon chain.

Suitable omega-3 fatty acids for use in embodiments of the present invention can be derived from algae, fish, animals, plants, or combinations thereof, for example. Examples of suitable omega-3 fatty acids include, but are not limited to, linolenic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, stearidonic acid, eicosatetraenoic acid and combinations thereof. In some embodiments, suitable omega-3 fatty acids can be provided in fish oils, (e.g., menhaden oil, tuna oil, salmon oil, bonito oil, and cod oil), microalgae omega- 3 oils or combinations thereof. In particular embodiments, suitable omega-3 fatty acids may be derived from commercially available omega-3 fatty acid oils such as Microalgae DHA oil (from Martek, Columbia, MD), OmegaPure (from Omega Protein, Houston, TX), Marinol C- 38 (from Lipid Nutrition, Channahon, IL), Bonito oil and MEG-3 (from Ocean Nutrition, Dartmouth, NS), Evogel (from Symrise, Holzminden, Germany), Marine Oil, from tuna or salmon (from Arista Wilton, CT), OmegaSource 2000, Marine Oil, from menhaden and Marine Oil, from cod (from OmegaSource, RTP, NC).

Suitable omega-6 fatty acids include, but are not limited to, linoleic acid, gamma- linolenic acid, dihommo-gamma-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid, eicosadienoic acid, docosadienoic acid, adrenic acid, docosapentaenoic acid and combinations thereof.

Suitable esterified fatty acids for embodiments of the present invention may include, but are not limited to, monoacylgycerols containing omega-3 and/or omega-6 fatty acids, diacylgycerols containing omega-3 and/or omega-6 fatty acids, or triacylgycerols containing omega-3 and/or omega-6 fatty acids and combinations thereof.

Vitamin

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one vitamin.

As used herein, the at least one vitamin may be single vitamin or a plurality of vitamins as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one vitamin is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

Vitamins are organic compounds that the human body needs in small quantities for normal functioning. The body uses vitamins without breaking them down, unlike other nutrients such as carbohydrates and proteins. To date, thirteen vitamins have been recognized, and one or more can be used in the compositions herein. Suitable vitamins include, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin , vitamin B l , vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B7, vitamin B9, vitamin B 12, and vitamin C. Many of vitamins also have alternative chemical names, non-limiting examples of which are provided below.

Vitamin D (vitamins D l - Calciferol

D5) Cholecalcifero!

Lumisterol

Ergocalciferol

Dihydrotachysterol

7-dehydrocholesterol

Vitamin E Tocopherol

Tocotrienol

Vitamin K Phylloquinone

Naphthoquinone

Vitamin B 1 Thiamin

Vitamin B2 Riboflavin

Vitamin G

Vitamin B3 Niacin

Nicotinic acid

Vitamin PP

Vitamin B5 Pantothenic acid

Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine

Pyridoxal

Pyridoxamine

Vitamin B7 Biotin

Vitamin H

Vitamin B9 Folic acid

Folate

Folacin

Vitamin M

Pteroyl-L-glutamic acid

Vitamin B 12 Cobalamin

Cyanocobalamin

Vitamin C Ascorbic acid

Various other compounds have been classified as vitamins by some authorities. These compounds may be termed pseudo-vitamins and include, but are not limited to, compounds such as ubiquinone (coenzyme Q 10), pangamic acid, dimethylglycine, taestrile, amygdaline, flavanoids, para-aminobenzoic acid, adenine, adenylic acid, and s-methylmethionine. As used herein, the term vitamin includes pseudo-vitamins. In some embodiments, the vitamin is a fat-soluble vitamin chosen from vitamin A, D, E, and combinations thereof.

In other embodiments, the vitamin is a water-soluble vitamin chosen from vitamin B l , vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B 12, folic acid, biotin, pantothenic acid, vitamin C and combinations thereof.

Glucosamine

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is glucosamine.

Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, glucosamine is present in the compositions in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

Glucosamine, also called chitosamine, is an amino sugar that is believed to be an important precursor in the biochemical synthesis of glycosylated proteins and lipids. D- glucosamine occurs naturally in the cartilage in the form of glucosamine-6-phosphate, which is synthesized from fructose-6-phosphate and glutamine. However, glucosamine also is available in other forms, non-limiting examples of which include glucosamine hydrochloride, glucosamine sulfate, N-acetyl-glucosamine, or any other salt forms or combinations thereof. Glucosamine may be obtained by acid hydrolysis of the shells of lobsters, crabs, shrimps, or prawns using methods well known to those of ordinary skill in the art. In a particular embodiment, glucosamine may be derived from fungal biomass containing chitin, as described in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2006/0172392.

The compositions can further comprise chondroitin sulfate.

Mineral

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one mineral.

As used herein, the at least one mineral may be single mineral or a plurality of minerals as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one mineral is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

Minerals, in accordance with the teachings of this invention, comprise inorganic chemical elements required by living organisms. Minerals are comprised of a broad range of compositions (e.g., elements, simple salts, and complex silicates) and also vary broadly in crystalline structure. They may naturally occur in foods and beverages, may be added as a supplement, or may be consumed or administered separately from foods or beverages.

Minerals may be categorized as either bulk minerals, which are required in relatively large amounts, or trace minerals, which are required in relatively small amounts. Bulk minerals generally are required in amounts greater than or equal to about 100 mg per day and trace minerals are those that are required in amounts less than about 100 mg per day.

In particular embodiments of this invention, the mineral is chosen from bulk minerals, trace minerals or combinations thereof. Non-limiting examples of bulk minerals include calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. Non-limiting examples of trace minerals include chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, zinc, and iodine. Although iodine generally is classified as a trace mineral, it is required in larger quantities than other trace minerals and often is categorized as a bulk mineral.

In other particular embodiments of this invention, the mineral is a trace mineral, believed to be necessary for human nutrition, non-limiting examples of which include bismuth, boron, lithium, nickel, rubidium, si licon, strontium, tellurium, tin, titanium, tungsten, and vanadium.

The minerals embodied herein may be in any form known to those of ordinary skill in the art. For example, in a particular embodiment the minerals may be in their ionic form, having either a positive or negative charge. In another particular embodiment the minerals may be in their molecular form. For example, sulfur and phosphorous often are found naturally as sulfates, sulfides, and phosphates.

Preservative

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one preservative.

As used herein, the at least one preservative may be single preservative or a plurality of preservatives as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one preservative is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

In particular embodiments of this invention, the preservative is chosen from antimicrobials, antioxidants, antienzymatics or combinations thereof. Non-l imiting examples of antimicrobials include sulfites, propionates, benzoates, sorbates, nitrates, nitrites, bacteriocins, salts, sugars, acetic acid, dimethyl dicarbonate (DMDC), ethanol, and ozone.

According to a particular embodiment, the preservative is a sulfite. Sulfites include, but are not limited to, sulfur dioxide, sodium bisulfite, and potassium hydrogen sulfite.

According to another particular embodiment, the preservative is a propionate. Propionates include, but are not limited to, propionic acid, calcium propionate, and sodium propionate. According to yet another particular embodiment, the preservative is a benzoate. Benzoates include, but are not limited to, sodium benzoate and benzoic acid.

In another particular embodiment, the preservative is a sorbate. Sorbates include, but are not limited to, potassium sorbate, sodium sorbate, calcium sorbate, and sorbic acid.

In still another particular embodiment, the preservative is a nitrate and/or a nitrite. Nitrates and nitrites include, but are not limited to, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite.

In yet another particular embodiment, the at least one preservative is a bacteriocin, such as, for example, nisin.

In another particular embodiment, the preservative is ethanol.

In still another particular embodiment, the preservative is ozone.

Non-limiting examples of antienzymatics suitable for use as preservatives in particular embodiments of the invention include ascorbic acid, citric acid, and metal chelating agents such as ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA).

Hydration Agent

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one hydration agent.

As used herein, the at least one hydration agent may be single hydration agent or a plurality of hydration agents as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one hydration agent is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

Hydration products help the body to replace fluids that are lost through excretion. For example, fluid is lost as sweat in order to regulate body temperature, as urine in order to excrete waste substances, and as water vapor in order to exchange gases in the lungs. Fluid loss can also occur due to a wide range of external causes, non-limiting examples of which include physical activity, exposure to dry air, diarrhea, vomiting, hyperthermia, shock, blood loss, and hypotension. Diseases causing fluid loss include diabetes, cholera, gastroenteritis, shigellosis, and yellow fever. Forms of malnutrition that cause fluid loss include the excessive consumption of alcohol, electrolyte imbalance, fasting, and rapid weight loss.

In a particular embodiment, the hydration product is a composition that helps the body replace fluids that are lost during exercise. Accordingly, in a particular embodiment, the hydration product is an electrolyte, non-limiting examples of which include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, bicarbonate, and combinations thereof. Suitable electrolytes for use in particular embodiments of this invention are also described in U.S. Patent No. 5,681 ,569, the disclosure of which is expressly incorporated herein by reference. In particular embodiments, the electrolytes are obtained from their corresponding water-soluble salts. Non-limiting examples of salts for use in particular embodiments include chlorides, carbonates, sulfates, acetates, bicarbonates, citrates, phosphates, hydrogen phosphates, tartrates, sorbates, citrates, benzoates, or combinations thereof. In other embodiments, the electrolytes are provided by juice, fruit extracts, vegetable extracts, tea, or teas extracts.

In particular embodiments of this invention, the hydration product is a carbohydrate to supplement energy stores burned by muscles. Suitable carbohydrates for use in particular embodiments of this invention are described in U.S. Patent Numbers 4,312,856, 4,853,237, 5,681 ,569, and 6,989, 1 71 , the disclosures of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference. Non-limiting examples of suitable carbohydrates include monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, complex polysaccharides or combinations thereof. Non- limiting examples of suitable types of monosaccharides for use in particular embodiments include trioses, tetroses, pentoses, hexoses, heptoses, octoses, and nonoses. Non-limiting examples of specific types of suitable monosaccharides include glyceraldehyde, dihydroxyacetone, erythrose, threose, erythrulose, arabinose, lyxose, ribose, xylose, ribulose, xylulose, allose, altrose, galactose, glucose, gulose, idose, mannose, talose, fructose, psicose, sorbose, tagatose, mannoheptulose, sedoheltulose, octolose, and sialose. Non-limiting examples of suitable disaccharides include sucrose, lactose, and maltose. Non-limiting examples of suitable oligosaccharides include saccharose, maltotriose, and maltodextrin. In other particular embodiments, the carbohydrates are provided by a corn syrup, a beet sugar, a cane sugar, a juice, or a tea.

In another particular embodiment, the hydration is a flavanol that provides cellular rehydration. Flavanols are a class of natural substances present in plants, and generally comprise a 2-phenylbenzopyrone molecular skeleton attached to one or more chemical moieties. Non-limiting examples of suitable flavanols for use in particular embodiments of this invention include catechin, epicatechin, gallocatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin 3-gallate, theaflavin, theaflavin 3-gallate, theaflavin 3 '-gallate, theaflavin 3,3 ' gallate, thearubigin or combinations thereof. Several common sources of flavanols include tea plants, fruits, vegetables, and flowers. In preferred embodiments, the flavanol is extracted from green tea.

In a particular embodiment, the hydration product is a glycerol solution to enhance exercise endurance. The ingestion of a glycerol containing solution has been shown to provide beneficial physiological effects, such as expanded blood volume, lower heart rate, and lower rectal temperature. Probiotics/Prebiotics

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is chosen from at least one probiotic, prebiotic and combination thereof.

As used herein, the at least one probiotic or prebiotic may be single probiotic or prebiotic or a plurality of probiotics or prebiotics as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one probiotic, prebiotic or combination thereof is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

Probiotics, in accordance with the teachings of this invention, comprise microorganisms that benefit health when consumed in an effective amount. Desirably, probiotics beneficially affect the human body's naturally-occurring gastrointestinal microflora and impart health benefits apart from nutrition. Probiotics may include, without limitation, bacteria, yeasts, and fungi.

Prebiotics, in accordance with the teachings of this invention, are compositions that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Prebiotic substances can be consumed by a relevant probiotic, or otherwise assist in keeping the relevant probiotic alive or stimulate its growth. When consumed in an effective amount, prebiotics also beneficially affect the human body's naturally-occurring gastrointestinal microflora and thereby impart health benefits apart from just nutrition. Prebiotic foods enter the colon and serve as substrate for the endogenous bacteria, thereby indirectly providing the host with energy, metabolic substrates, and essential micronutrients. The body's digestion and absorption of prebiotic foods is dependent upon bacterial metabolic activity, which salvages energy for the host from nutrients that escaped digestion and absorption in the small intestine.

According to particular embodiments, the probiotic is a beneficial microorganism that beneficially affects the human body's naturally-occurring gastrointestinal microflora and imparts health benefits apart from nutrition. Examples of probiotics include, but are not limited to, bacteria of the genus Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, Streptococci, or combinations thereof, that confer beneficial effects to humans.

In particular embodiments of the invention, the at least one probiotic is chosen from the genus Lactobacilli. Lactobacilli (i.e., bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus, hereinafter "Z.") have been used for several hundred years as a food preservative and for promoting human health. Non-limiting examples of species of Lactobacilli found in the human intestinal tract include L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. fermentum, L. saliva roes, L. brevis, L. leichmannii, L. plantarum, L. cel/obiosus, L. reuleri, L. rhamnosus, L. GG, L. bulgaricus, and L. thermophilic, .

According to other particular embodiments of this invention, the probiotic is chosen from the genus Bifidobacteria, Bifidobacteria also are known to exert a beneficial influence on human health by producing short chain fatty acids (e.g., acetic, propionic, and butyric acids), lactic, and formic acids as a result of carbohydrate metabolism. Non-limiting species of Bifidobacteria found in the human gastrointestinal tract include B. angulation, B. animalis, B. asteroides, B. bifidum, B. bourn, B. breve, B. catenulatum, B. choerinum, B. coryneforme, B. cimiculi, B. dentium, B. gallicum, B. gallinarum, B indicum, B. longum, B. magnum, B. erycicum, B. minimum, B. pseiidocatenulatitm, B. pseudolong m, B. psychraerophilum, B. puUorum, B. ruminantium, B. saeculare, B. scardovii, B. simiae, B. subtile, B. thermacidophilitm, B. thermophilum, B. urinalis, and B. sp.

According to other particular embodiments of this invention, the probiotic is chosen from the genus Streptococcus. Streptococcus thermophilus is a gram-positive facultative anaerobe. It is classified as a lactic acid bacteria and commonly is found in milk and milk products, and is used in the production of yogurt. Other non-limiting probiotic species of this bacteria include Streptococcus salivarus and Streptococcus cremoris.

Probiotics that may be used in accordance with this invention are well-known to those of skill in the art. Non-limiting examples of foodstuffs comprising probiotics include yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, fermented vegetables, and other foodstuffs containing a microbial element that beneficially affects the host animal by improving the intestinal microbalance.

Prebiotics, in accordance with the embodiments of this invention, include, without limitation, mucopolysaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, amino acids, vitamins, nutrient precursors, proteins and combinations thereof.

According to a particular embodiment of this invention, the prebiotic is chosen from dietary fibers, including, without limitation, polysaccharides and oligosaccharides. These compounds have the ability to increase the number of probiotics, which leads to the benefits conferred by the probiotics. Non-limiting examples of oligosaccharides that are categorized as prebiotics in accordance with particular embodiments of this invention include fructooligosaccharides, inulins, isomalto-oligosaccharides, lactilol, lactosucrose, lactulose, pyrodextrins, soy oligosaccharides, transgalacto-oligosaccharides, and xylo-oligosaccharides. According to other particular embodiments of the invention, the prebiotic is an amino acid. Although a number of known prebiotics break down to provide carbohydrates for probiotics, some probiotics also require amino acids for nourishment.

Prebiotics are found naturally in a variety of foods including, without limitation, bananas, berries, asparagus, garlic, wheat, oats, barley (and other whole grains), flaxseed, tomatoes, Jerusalem artichoke, onions and chicory, greens (e.g., dandelion greens, spinach, collard greens, chard, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens), and legumes (e.g., lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, navy beans, white beans, black beans).

Weight Management Agent

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one weight management agent.

As used herein, the at least one weight management agent may be single weight management agent or a plurality of weight management agents as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one weight management agent is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

As used herein, "a weight management agent" includes an appetite suppressant and/or a thermogenesis agent. As used herein, the phrases "appetite suppressant", "appetite satiation compositions", "satiety agents", and "satiety ingredients" are synonymous. The phrase "appetite suppressant" describes macronutrients, herbal extracts, exogenous hormones, anorectics, anorexigenics, pharmaceutical drugs, and combinations thereof, that when delivered in an effective amount, suppress, inhibit, reduce, or otherwise curtail a person's appetite. The phrase "thermogenesis agent" describes macronutrients, herbal extracts, exogenous hormones, anorectics, anorexigenics, pharmaceutical drugs, and combinations thereof, that when delivered in an effective amount, activate or otherwise enhance a person's thermogenesis or metabolism.

Suitable weight management agents include macronutrient selected from the group consisting of proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fats, and combinations thereof. Consumption of proteins, carbohydrates, and dietary fats stimulates the release of peptides with appetite- suppressing effects. For example, consumption of proteins and dietary fats stimulates the release of the gut hormone cholecytokinin (CCK), while consumption of carbohydrates and dietary fats stimulates release of Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1 ).

Suitable macronutrient weight management agents also include carbohydrates. Carbohydrates generally comprise sugars, starches, cellulose and gums that the body converts into glucose for energy. Carbohydrates often are classified into two categories, digestible carbohydrates (e.g., monosaccharides, disaccharides, and starch) and non-digestible carbohydrates (e.g., dietary fiber). Studies have shown that non-digestible carbohydrates and complex polymeric carbohydrates having reduced absorption and digestibility in the small intestine stimulate physiologic responses that inhibit food intake. Accordingly, the carbohydrates embodied herein desirably comprise non-digestible carbohydrates or carbohydrates with reduced digestibility. Non-limiting examples of such carbohydrates include polydextrose; inulin; monosaccharide-derived polyols such as erythritol, mannitol, xylitol, and sorbitol; disaccharide-derived alcohols such as isomalt, lactitol, and maltitol; and hydrogenated starch hydro!ysates. Carbohydrates are described in more detail herein below.

In another particular embodiment weight management agent is a dietary fat. Dietary fats are lipids comprising combinations of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to have a greater satiating power than mono- unsaturated fatty acids. Accordingly, the dietary fats embodied herein desirably comprise poly-unsaturated fatty acids, non-limiting examples of which include triacylglycerols.

In a particular embodiment, the weight management agents is an herbal extract. Extracts from numerous types of plants have been identified as possessing appetite suppressant properties. Non-limiting examples of plants whose extracts have appetite suppressant properties include plants of the genus Hoodia, Tric ocaulon, Caralluma, Stapelia, Orbea, Asclepias, and Camelia. Other embodiments include extracts derived from Gymnema Sylvestre, Kola Nut, Citrus Auran tium, Yerba Mate, Griffonia Simplicifolia, Guarana, myrrh, guggul Lipid, and black current seed oil.

The herbal extracts may be prepared from any type of plant material or plant biomass. Non-limiting examples of plant material and biomass include the stems, roots, leaves, dried powder obtained from the plant material, and sap or dried sap. The herbal extracts generally are prepared by extracting sap from the plant and then spray-drying the sap. Alternatively, solvent extraction procedures may be employed. Following the initial extraction, it may be desirable to further fractionate the initial extract (e.g., by column chromatography) in order to obtain an herbal extract with enhanced activity. Such techniques are well known to those of ordinary skill in the art.

In a particular embodiment, the herbal extract is derived from a plant of the genus Hoodia, species of which include H. alslonii, H. currorii, H. dregei, H. flava, H. gordonii, H. jiitatae, H. mossamedensis, H. officinalis, H. parviflorai, H. pedicellata, H. pilifera, H. ruschii, and H. triebneri. Hoodia plants are stem succulents native to southern Africa. A sterol glycoside of Hoodia, known as P57, is believed to be responsible for the appetite- suppressant effect of the Hoodia species.

In another particular embodiment, the herbal extract is derived from a plant of the genus CaraUuma, species of which include C. indica, C. fimbriata, C. attenuate, C. luberculata, C. edulis, C. adscendens, C. slalagmifera, C. umbellate, C. penicillata, C. russeliana, C. retro spleens, C, Arabica, and C. lasiantha. Carralluma plants belong to the same Subfamily as Hoodia, Asclepiadaceae. CaraUuma are small, erect and fleshy plants native to India having medicinal properties, such as appetite suppression, that generally are attributed to glycosides belonging to the pregnane group of glycosides, non-limiting examples of which include caratuberside A, caratuberside B, bouceroside I, bouceroside II, bouceroside III, bouceroside IV, bouceroside V, bouceroside VI, bouceroside VII, bouceroside VIII, bouceroside IX, and bouceroside X.

In another particular embodiment, the at least one herbal extract is derived from a plant of the genus Trichocaulon. Trichocaulon plants are succulents that generally are native to southern Africa, similar to Hoodia, and include the species T. piliferum and T. officinale.

In another particular embodiment, the herbal extract is derived from a plant of the genus Stapelia or Orbea, species of which include S. gigantean and O. variegate, respectively. Both Stapelia and Orbea plants belong to the same Subfamily as Hoodia, Asclepiadaceae. Not wishing to be bound by any theory, it is believed that the compounds exhibiting appetite suppressant activity are saponins, such as pregnane glycosides, which include stavarosides A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, and K.

In another particular embodiment, the herbal extract is derived from a plant of the genus Asclepias. Asclepias plants also belong to the Asclepiadaceae family of plants. Non- limiting examples of Asclepias plants include d, incarnate, A. curassayica, A. syriaca, and A. tuberose. Not wishing to be bound by any theory, it is believed that the extracts comprise steroidal compounds, such as pregnane glycosides and pregnane ag!ycone, having appetite suppressant effects.

In a particular embodiment, the weight management agent is an exogenous hormone having a weight management effect. Non-limiting examples of such hormones include CCK, peptide YY, ghrelin, bombesin and gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP), enterostatin, apolipoprotein A-IV, GLP- 1 , amylin, somastatin, and leptin.

In another embodiment, the weight management agent is a pharmaceutical drug. Non- limiting examples include phentenime, diethylpropion, phendimetrazine, sibutramine, rimonabant, oxyntomodulin, floxetine hydrochloride, ephedrine, phenethylamine, or other stimulants.

Osteoporosis Management Agent

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one osteoporosis management agent.

As used herein, the at least one osteoporosis management agent may be single osteoporosis management agent or a plurality of osteoporosis management agent as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one osteoporosis management agent is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder of compromised bone strength, resulting in an increased risk of bone fracture. Generally, osteoporosis is characterized by reduction of the bone mineral density (BMD), disruption of bone micro-architecture, and changes to the amount and variety of non-collagenous proteins in the bone.

In certain embodiments, the osteoporosis management agent is at least one calcium source. According to a particular embodiment, the calcium source is any compound containing calcium, including salt complexes, solubilized species, and other forms of calcium. Non-limiting examples of calcium sources include amino acid chelated calcium, calcium carbonate, calcium oxide, calcium hydroxide, calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, calcium phosphate, calcium hydrogen phosphate, calcium dihydrogen phosphate, calcium citrate, calcium malate, calcium citrate malate, calcium gluconate, calcium tartrate, calcium lactate, solubilized species thereof, and combinations thereof.

According to a particular embodiment, the osteoporosis management agent is a magnesium soucrce. The magnesium source is any compound containing magnesium, including salt complexes, solubilized species, and other forms of magnesium. Non-limiting examples of magnesium sources include magnesium chloride, magnesium citrate, magnesium gluceptate, magnesium gluconate, magnesium lactate, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium picolate, magnesium sulfate, solubilized species thereof, and mixtures thereof. In another particular embodiment, the magnesium source comprises an amino acid chelated or creatine chelated magnesium.

In other embodiments, the osteoporosis agent is chosen from vitamins D, C, K, their precursors and/or beta-carotene and combinations thereof.

Numerous plants and plant extracts also have been identified as being effective in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Not wishing to be bound by any theory, it is believed that the plants and plant extracts stimulates bone morphogenic proteins and/or inhibits bone resorption, thereby stimulating bone regeneration and strength. Non-limiting examples of suitable plants and plant extracts as osteoporosis management agents include species of the genus Taraxacum and Amekmchier, as disclosed in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2005/0106215, and species of the genus Lindera, Artemisia, Acorns, Carlhamus, Carum, Cnidium, Curcuma, Cyperus, Juniper s, Primus, Iris, Cichorium, Dodonaea, Epimedium, Erigonoum, Soya, Mentha, Ocimum, thymus, Tanacetum, Pkmtago, Spearmint, Bixa, Vitis, Rosemarinus, Rhus, and Anethum, as disclosed in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2005/0079232.

Phytoestrogen

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one phytoestrogen.

As used herein, the at least one phytoestrogen may be single phytoestrogen or a plurality of phytoestrogens as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one phytoestrogen is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

Phytoestrogens are compounds found in plants which can typically be delivered into human bodies by ingestion of the plants or the plant parts having the phytoestrogens. As used herein, "phytoestrogen" refers to any substance which, when introduced into a body causes an estrogen-like effect of any degree. For example, a

phytoestrogen may bind to estrogen receptors within the body and have a small estrogen-like effect.

Examples of suitable phytoestrogens for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, isoflavones, stilbenes, lignans, resorcyclic acid lactones, coumestans, coumestrol, equol, and combinations thereof. Sources of suitable phytoestrogens include, but are not limited to, whole grains, cereals, fibers, fruits, vegetables, black cohosh, agave root, black currant, black haw, chasteberries, cramp bark, dong quai root, devil's club root, false unicorn root, ginseng root, groundsel herb, licorice, liferoot herb, motherwort herb, peony root, raspberry leaves, rose family plants, sage leaves, sarsaparilla root, saw palmetto berried, wild yam root, yarrow blossoms, legumes, soybeans, soy products (e.g., miso, soy flour, soymilk, soy nuts, soy protein isolate, tempen, or tofu) chick peas, nuts, lentils, seeds, clover, red clover, dandelion leaves, dandelion roots, fenugreek seeds, green tea, hops, red wine, flaxseed, garlic, onions, linseed, borage, butterfly weed, caraway, chaste tree, vitex, dates, dill, fennel seed, gotu kola, milk thistle, pennyroyal, pomegranates, southernwood, soya flour, tansy, and root of the kudzu vine (pueraria root) and the like, and combinations thereof. Isoflavones belong to the group of phytonutrients called polyphenols. In general, polyphenols (also known as "polyphenolics"), are a group of chemical substances found in plants, characterized by the presence of more than one phenol group per molecule.

Suitable phytoestrogen isoflavones in accordance with embodiments of this invention include genistein, daidzein, glycitein, biochanin A, formononetin, their respective naturally occurring glycosides and glycoside conjugates, matairesinol, secoisolariciresinol, enterolactone, enterodiol, textured vegetable protein, and combinations thereof.

Suitable sources of isoflavones for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, soy beans, soy products, legumes, alfalfa sprouts, chickpeas, peanuts, and red clover.

Long-Chain Primary Aliphatic Saturated Alcohol

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one long chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohol.

As used herein, the at least one long chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohol may be single long chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohol or a plurality of long chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohols as a functional ingredient for the compositions provided herein. Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one long chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohol is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

Long-chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohols are a diverse group of organic compounds. The term alcohol refers to the fact these compounds feature a hydroxyl group (- OH) bound to a carbon atom. The term primary refers to the fact that in these compounds the carbon atom which is bound to the hydroxyl group is bound to only one other carbon atom. The term saturated refers to the fact that these compounds feature no carbon to carbon pi bonds. The term aliphatic refers to the fact that the carbon atoms in these compounds are joined together in straight or branched chains rather than in rings. The term long-chain refers to the fact that the number of carbon atoms in these compounds is at least 8 carbons).

Non-limiting examples of particular long-chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohols for use in particular embodiments of the invention include the 8 carbon atom l -octanol, the 9 carbon 1 -nonanol, the 10 carbon atom 1 -decanol, the 12 carbon atom 1 -dodecanol, the 14 carbon atom 1 -tetradecanol, the 16 carbon atom 1 -hexadecanol, the 18 carbon atom 1 - octadecanol, the 20 carbon atom 1-eicosanol, the 22 carbon 1 -docosanol, the 24 carbon 1 - tetracosanol, the 26 carbon 1 -hexacosanol, the 27 carbon 1 -heptacosanol, the 28 carbon 1 - octanosol, the 29 carbon l -nonacosanol, the 30 carbon 1 -triacontanol, the 32 carbon 1 - dotriacontanol, and the 34 carbon l -tetracontanol.

In a particularly desirable embodiment of the invention, the long-chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohols are policosanol. Policosanol is the term for a mixture of long- chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohols composed primarily of 28 carbon 1 -octanosol and 30 carbon 1 -triacontanol, as well as other alcohols in lower concentrations such as 22 carbon 1 -docosanol, 24 carbon 1 -tetracosanol, 26 carbon I -hexacosanol, 27 carbon 1 -heptacosanol, 29 carbon l -nonacosanol, 32 carbon 1 -dotriacontanol, and 34 carbon l -tetracontanol.

Long-chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohols are derived from natural fats and oils. They may be obtained from these sources by using extraction techniques well known to those of ordinary skill in the art. Policosanols can be isolated from a variety of plants and materials including sugar cane (Saccharum officinarium), yams (e.g. Dioscorea opposite), bran from rice (e.g. Oryza sativa), and beeswax. Policosanols may be obtained from these sources by using extraction techniques well known to those of ordinary skill in the art. A description of such extraction techniques can be found in U.S. Pat. Appl. No. 2005/0220868, the disclosure of which is expressly incorporated by reference.

Phytosterols

In certain embodiments, the functional ingredient is at least one phytosterol, phytostanol or combination thereof.

Generally, according to particular embodiments of this invention, the at least one phytosterol, phytostanol or combination thereof is present in the composition in an amount sufficient to promote health and wellness.

As used herein, the phrases "stanol", "plant stanol" and "phytostanol" are synonymous.

Plant sterols and stanols are present naturally in small quantities in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, legumes, vegetable oils, bark of the trees and other plant sources. Although people normally consume plant sterols and stanols every day, the amounts consumed are insufficient to have significant cholesterol-lowering effects or other health benefits. Accordingly, it would be desirable to supplement food and beverages with plant sterols and stanols.

Sterols are a subgroup of steroids with a hydroxyl group at C-3. Generally, phytosterols have a double bond within the steroid nucleus, like cholesterol; however, phytosterols also may comprise a substituted sidechain (R) at C-24, such as an ethyl or methyl group, or an additional double bond. The structures of phytosterols are well known to those of skill in the art.

At least 44 naturally-occurring phytosterols have been discovered, and generally are derived from plants, such as corn, soy, wheat, and wood oils; however, they also may be produced synthetically to form compositions identical to those in nature or having properties similar to those of naturally-occurring phytosterols. According to particular embodiments of this invention, non-limiting examples of phytosterols well known to those or ordinary skill in the art include 4-desmethylsterols (e.g., β-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, brassicasterol, 22-dehydrobrassicasterol, and A5-avenasterol), 4-monomethyl sterols, and 4,4-dimethyl sterols (triterpene alcohols) (e.g., cycloartenol, 24-methylenecycloartanol, and cyclobranol).

As used herein, the phrases "stanol", "plant stanol" and "phytostanol" are synonymous. Phytostanols are saturated sterol alcohols present in only trace amounts in nature and also may be synthetically produced, such as by hydrogenation of phytosterols. According to particular embodiments of this invention, non-limiting examples of phytostanols include β-sitostanol, campestanol, cycloartanol, and saturated forms of other triterpene alcohols.

Both phytosterols and phytostanols, as used herein, include the various isomers such as the a and β isomers (e.g., a-sitosterol and β-sitostanol, which comprise one of the most effective phytosterols and phytostanols, respectively, for lowering serum cholesterol in mammals).

The phytosterols and phytostanols of the present invention also may be in their ester form. Suitable methods for deriving the esters of phytosterols and phytostanols are well known to those of ordinary skill in the art, and are disclosed in U.S. Patent Numbers 6,589,588, 6,635,774, 6,800,3 17, and U.S. Patent Publication Number 2003/0045473, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. Non-limiting examples of suitable phytosterol and phytostanol esters include sitosterol acetate, sitosterol oleate, stigmasterol oleate, and their corresponding phytostanol esters. The phytosterols and phytostanols of the present invention also may include their derivatives.

Generally, the amount of functional ingredient in the composition varies widely depending on the particular composition and the desired functional ingredient. Those of ordinary skill in the art will readily ascertain the appropriate amount of functional ingredient for each composition.

In one embodiment, a method for preparing a composition comprises combining HSG-Extract and at least one sweetener and/or additive and/or functional ingredient. Consumables

In one embodiment, the composition of the present invention is a consumable comprising HSG-Extract, or a consumable comprising a composition comprising HSG- Extract.

HSG-Extract, or a composition comprising the same, can be incorporated in any known edible or oral composition (referred to herein as a "consumable"), such as, for example, pharmaceutical compositions, edible gel mixes and compositions, dental compositions, foodstuffs (confections, condiments, chewing gum, cereal compositions baked goods dairy products, and tabletop sweetener compositions) beverages and beverage products.

Consumables, as used herein, mean substances which are contacted with the mouth of man or animal, including substances which are taken into and subsequently ejected from the mouth and substances which are drunk, eaten, swallowed or otherwise ingested, and are safe for human or animal consumption when used in a generally acceptable range.

For example, a beverage is a consumable. The beverage may be sweetened or unsweetened. HSG-Extract, or a composition comprising a HSG-Extract, may be added to a beverage or beverage matrix to sweeten the beverage or enhance its existing sweetness or flavor.

In one embodiment, the present invention is a consumable comprising HSG-Extract. The concentration of HSG-Extract in the consumable may be above, at or below its threshold sweetness concentration.

In a particular embodiment, the present invention is a consumable comprising HSG- Extract. The concentration of HSG-Extract in the beverage may be above, at or below its threshold sweetness concentration.

The consumable can optionally include additives, additional sweeteners, functional ingredients and combinations thereof, as described herein. Any of the additive, additional sweetener and functional ingredients described above can be present in the consumable.

Pharmaceutical Compositions

In one embodiment, the present invention is a pharmaceutical composition that comprises a pharmaceutically active substance and HSG-Extract.

In another embodiment, the present invention is a pharmaceutical composition that comprises a pharmaceutically active substance and a composition comprising HSG-Extract. HSG-Extract or composition comprising HSG-Extract can be present as an excipient material in the pharmaceutical composition, which can mask a bitter or otherwise undesirable taste of a pharmaceutically active substance or another excipient material. The pharmaceutical composition may be in the form of a tablet, a capsule, a liquid, an aerosol, a powder, an effervescent tablet or powder, a syrup, an emulsion, a suspension, a solution, or any other form for providing the pharmaceutical composition to a patient. In particular embodiments, the pharmaceutical composition may be in a form for oral administration, buccal administration, sublingual administration, or any other route of administration as known in the art.

As referred to herein, "pharmaceutically active substance" means any drug, drug formulation, medication, prophylactic agent, therapeutic agent, or other substance having biological activity. As referred to herein, "excipient material" refers to any inactive substance used as a vehicle for an active ingredient, such as any material to facilitate handling, stability, dispersibility, wettability, and/or release kinetics of a pharmaceutically active substance.

Suitable pharmaceutically active substances include, but are not limited to, medications for the gastrointestinal tract or digestive system, for the cardiovascular system, for the central nervous system, for pain or consciousness, for musculo-skeletal disorders, for the eye, for the ear, nose and oropharynx, for the respiratory system, for endocrine problems, for the reproductive system or urinary system, for contraception, for obstetrics and gynecology, for the skin, for infections and infestations, for immunology, for allergic disorders, for nutrition, for neoplastic disorders, for diagnostics, for euthanasia, or other biological functions or disorders. Examples of suitable pharmaceutically active substances for embodiments of the present invention include, but are not limited to, antacids, reflux suppressants, antiflatulents, antidopaminergics, proton pump inhibitors, cytoprotectants, prostaglandin analogues, laxatives, antispasmodics, antidiarrhoeals, bile acid sequestrants, opioids, beta-receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, cardiac glycosides, antiarrhythmics, nitrates, antianginals, vasoconstrictors, vasodilators, peripheral activators, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, alpha blockers, anticoagulants, heparin, antiplatelet drugs, fibrinolytics, anti-hemophilic factors, haemostatic drugs, hypolipidaemic agents, statins, hynoptics, anaesthetics, antipsychotics, antidepressants, anti-emetics, anticonvulsants, antiepileptics, anxiolytics, barbiturates, movement disorder drugs, stimulants, benzodiazepines, cyclopyrrolones, dopamine antagonists, antihistamines, cholinergics, anticholinergics, emetics, cannabinoids, analgesics, muscle relaxants, antibiotics, aminoglycosides, anti-virals, anti-fungals, anti-inflammatories, anti-gluacoma drugs, sympathomimetics, steroids, ceruminolytics, bronchodilators, NSAIDS, antitussive, mucolytics, decongestants, corticosteroids, androgens, antiandrogens, gonadotropins, growth hormones, insulin, antidiabetics, thyroid hormones, calcitonin, diphosponates, vasopressin analogues, alkalizing agents, quinolones, anticholinesterase, sildenafil, oral contraceptives, Hormone Replacement Therapies, bone regulators, follicle stimulating hormones, luteinizings hormones, gamolenic acid, progestogen, dopamine agonist, oestrogen, prostaglandin, gonadorelin, clomiphene, tamoxifen, diethylstilbestrol, antileprotics, antituberculous drugs, antimalarials, anthelmintics, antiprotozoal, antiserums, vaccines, interferons, tonics, vitamins, cytotoxic drugs, sex hormones, aromatase inhibitors, somatostatin inhibitors, or similar type substances, or combinations thereof. Such components generally are recognized as safe (GRAS) and/or are U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved.

The pharmaceutically active substance is present in the pharmaceutical composition in widely ranging amounts depending on the particular pharmaceutically active agent being used and its intended applications. An effective dose of any of the herein described pharmaceutically active substances can be readily determined by the use of conventional techniques and by observing results obtained under analogous circumstances. In determining the effective dose, a number of factors are considered including, but not limited to: the species of the patient; its size, age, and general health; the specific disease involved; the degree of involvement or the severity of the disease; the response of the individual patient; the particular pharmaceutically active agent administered; the mode of administration; the bioavailability characteristic of the preparation administered; the dose regimen selected; and the use of concomitant medication. The pharmaceutically active substance is included in the pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, diluent, or excipient in an amount sufficient to deliver to a patient a therapeutic amount of the pharmaceutically active substance in vivo in the absence of serious toxic effects when used in generally acceptable amounts. Thus, suitable amounts can be readily discerned by those skilled in the art.

According to particular embodiments of the present invention, the concentration of pharmaceutically active substance in the pharmaceutical composition will depend on absorption, inactivation, and excretion rates of the drug as well as other factors known to those of skill in the art. It is to be noted that dosage values will also vary with the severity of the condition to be alleviated. It is to be further understood that for any particular subject, specific dosage regimes should be adjusted over time according to the individual need and the professional judgment of the person administering or supervising the administration of the pharmaceutical compositions, and that the dosage ranges set forth herein are exemplary only and are not intended to limit the scope or practice of the claimed composition. The pharmaceutically active substance may be administered at once, or may be divided into a number of smaller doses to be administered at varying intervals of time.

The pharmaceutical composition also may comprise other pharmaceutically acceptable excipient materials. Examples of suitable excipient materials for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, antiadherents, binders (e.g., microcrystalline cellulose, gum tragacanth, or gelatin), coatings, disintegrants, fillers, diluents, softeners, emulsifiers, flavoring agents, coloring agents, adjuvants, lubricants, functional agents (e.g., nutrients), viscosity modifiers, bulking agents, glidiants (e.g., colloidal silicon dioxide) surface active agents, osmotic agents, diluents, or any other non-active ingredient, or combinations thereof. For example, the pharmaceutical compositions of the present invention may include excipient materials selected from the group consisting of calcium carbonate, coloring agents, whiteners, preservatives, and flavors, triacetin, magnesium stearate, sterotes, natural or artificial flavors, essential oils, plant extracts, fruit essences, gelatins, or combinations thereof.

The excipient material of the pharmaceutical composition may optionally include other artificial or natural sweeteners, bulk sweeteners, or combinations thereof. Bulk sweeteners include both caloric and non-caloric compounds. In a particular embodiment, the additive functions as the bulk sweetener. Non-limiting examples of bulk sweeteners include sucrose, dextrose, maltose, dextrin, dried invert sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, levulose, galactose, corn syrup solids, tagatose, polyols (e.g., sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, lactitol, erythritol, and maltitol), hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, trehalose, and mixtures thereof. In particular embodiments, the bulk sweetener is present in the pharmaceutical composition in widely ranging amounts depending on the degree of sweetness desired. Suitable amounts of both sweeteners would be readily discernible to those skilled in the art.

Edible Gel Mixes and Edible Gel Compositions

In one embodiment, the present invention is an edible gel or edible gel mix that comprises HSG-Extract. In another embodiment, the present invention is an edible gel or edible gel mix that comprises a composition comprising HSG-Extract.

Edible gels are gels that can be eaten. A gel is a colloidal system in which a network of particles spans the volume of a liquid medium. Although gels mainly are composed of liquids, and thus exhibit densities similar to liquids, gels have the structural coherence of solids due to the network of particles that spans the liquid medium. For this reason, gels generally appear to be solid, jelly-like materials. Gels can be used in a number of applications. For example, gels can be used in foods, paints, and adhesives.

Non-limiting examples of edible gel compositions for use in particular embodiments include gel desserts, puddings, jellies, pastes, trifles, aspics, marshmallows, gummy candies, or the like. Edible gel mixes generally are powdered or granular solids to which a fluid may be added to form an edible gel composition. Non-limiting examples of fluids for use in particular embodiments include water, dairy fluids, dairy analogue fluids, juices, alcohol, alcoholic beverages, and combinations thereof. Non-limiting examples of dairy fluids which may be used in particular embodiments include milk, cultured milk, cream, fluid whey, and mixtures thereof. Non-limiting examples of dairy analogue fluids which may be used in particular embodiments include, for example, soy milk and non-dairy coffee whitener. Because edible gel products found in the marketplace typically are sweetened with sucrose, it is desirable to sweeten edible gels with an alternative sweetener in order provide a low- calorie or non-calorie alternative.

As used herein, the term "gelling ingredient" denotes any material that can form a colloidal system within a liquid medium. Non-limiting examples of gelling ingredients for use in particular embodiments include gelatin, alginate, carageenan, gum, pectin, konjac, agar, food acid, rennet, starch, starch derivatives, and combinations thereof. It is well known to those having ordinary skill in the art that the amount of gelling ingredient used in an edible gel mix or an edible gel composition varies considerably depending on a number of factors, such as the particular gelling ingredient used, the particular fluid base used, and the desired properties of the gel.

Edible gel mixes and edible gels may be prepared using ingredients including food acids, a salt of a food acid, a buffering system, a bulking agent, a sequestrant, a cross-linking agent, one or more flavors, one or more colors, and combinations thereof. Non-limiting examples of food acids for use in particular embodiments include citric acid, adipic acid, fumaric acid, lactic acid, malic acid, and combinations thereof. Non-limiting examples of salts of food acids for use in particular embodiments include sodium salts of food acids, potassium salts of food acids, and combinations thereof. Non-limiting examples of bulking agents for use in particular embodiments include raftilose, isomalt, sorbitol, polydextrose, maltodextrin, and combinations thereof. Non-limiting examples of sequestrants for use in particular embodiments include calcium disodium ethylene tetra-acetate, glucono delta- lactone, sodium gluconate, potassium gluconate, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), and combinations thereof. Non-limiting examples of cross-linking agents for use in particular embodiments include calcium ions, magnesium ions, sodium ions, and combinations thereof.

Dental Compositions

In one embodiment, the present invention is a dental composition that comprises HSG-Extract. In another embodiment, the present invention is a dental composition that comprises a composition comprising HSG-Extract. Dental compositions generally comprise an active dental substance and a base material. HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract can be used as the base material to sweeten the dental composition. The dental composition may be in the form of any oral composition used in the oral cavity such as mouth freshening agents, gargling agents, mouth rinsing agents, toothpaste, tooth polish, dentifrices, mouth sprays, teeth-whitening agent, dental floss, and the like, for example.

As referred to herein, "active dental substance" means any composition which can be used to improve the aesthetic appearance and/or health of teeth or gums or prevent dental caries. As referred to herein, "base material" refers to any inactive substance used as a vehicle for an active dental substance, such as any material to facilitate handling, stability, dispersibility, wettability, foaming, and/or release kinetics of an active dental substance.

Suitable active dental substances for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, substances which remove dental plaque, remove food from teeth, aid in the elimination and/or masking of halitosis, prevent tooth decay, and prevent gum disease (i.e., Gingiva). Examples of suitable active dental substances for embodiments of the present invention include, but are not limited to, anticaries drugs, fluoride, sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate, stannos fluoride, hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide (i.e., urea peroxide), antibacterial agents, plaque removing agents, stain removers, anticalculus agents, abrasives, baking soda, percarbonates, perborates of alkali and alkaline earth metals, or similar type substances, or combinations thereof. Such components generally are recognized as safe (GRAS) and/or are U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved.

According to particular embodiments of the invention, the active dental substance is present in the dental composition in an amount ranging from about 50 ppm to about 3000 ppm of the dental composition. Generally, the active dental substance is present in the dental composition in an amount effective to at least improve the aesthetic appearance and/or health of teeth or gums marginally or prevent dental caries. For example, a dental composition comprising a toothpaste may include an active dental substance comprising fluoride in an amount of about 850 to 1 , 1 0 ppm. The dental composition also may comprise base materials in addition to HSG-Extract or composition comprising HSG-Extract. Examples of suitable base materials for embodiments of this invention include, but are not limited to, water, sodium lauryl sulfate or other sulfates, humectants, enzymes, vitamins, herbs, calcium, flavorings (e.g., mint, bubblegum, cinnamon, lemon, or orange), surface-active agents, binders, preservatives, gelling agents, pH modifiers, peroxide activators, stabilizers, coloring agents, or similar type materials, and combinations thereof.

The base material of the dental composition may optionally include other artificial or natural sweeteners, bulk sweeteners, or combinations thereof. Bulk sweeteners include both caloric and non-caloric compounds. Non-limiting examples of bulk sweeteners include sucrose, dextrose, maltose, dextrin, dried invert sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, levulose, galactose, corn syrup solids, tagatose, polyols (e.g., sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, lactitol, erythritol, and maltitol), hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, trehalose, and mixtures thereof. Generally, the amount of bulk sweetener present in the dental composition ranges widely depending on the particular embodiment of the dental composition and the desired degree of sweetness. Those of ordinary skill in the art will readily ascertain the appropriate amount of bulk sweetener. In particular embodiments, the bulk sweetener is present in the dental composition in an amount in the range of about 0.1 to about 5 weight percent of the dental composition.

According to particular embodiments of the invention, the base material is present in the dental composition in an amount ranging from about 20 to about 99 percent by weight of the dental composition. Generally, the base material is present in an amount effective to provide a vehicle for an active dental substance.

In a particular embodiment, a dental composition comprises HSG-Extract and an active dental substance. In another particular embodiment, a dental composition comprises a composition comprising HSG-Extract and an active dental substance. Generally, the amount of the sweetener varies widely depending on the nature of the particular dental composition and the desired degree of sweetness.

Foodstuffs include, but are not limited to, confections, condiments, chewing gum, cereal, baked goods, and dairy products.

Confections

In one embodiment, the present invention is a confection that comprises HSG-Extract. In another embodiment, the present invention is a confection that comprises a composition comprising HSG-Extract. As referred to herein, "confection" can mean a sweet, a lollie, a confectionery, or similar term. The confection generally contains a base composition component and a sweetener component. HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract can serve as the sweetener component. The confection may be in the form of any food that is typically perceived to be rich in sugar or is typically sweet. According to particular embodiments of the present invention, the confections may be bakery products such as pastries; desserts such as yogurt, jellies, drinkable jellies, puddings, Bavarian cream, blancmange, cakes, brownies, mousse and the like, sweetened food products eaten at tea time or following meals; frozen foods; cold confections, e. g. types of ice cream such as ice cream, ice milk, lacto-ice and the like (food products in which sweeteners and various other types of raw materials are added to milk products, and the resulting mixture is agitated and frozen), and ice confections such as sherbets, dessert ices and the like (food products in which various other types of raw materials are added to a sugary liquid, and the resulting mixture is agitated and frozen); general confections, e. g., baked confections or steamed confections such as crackers, biscuits, buns with bean-jam filling, halvah, alfajor, and the like; rice cakes and snacks; table top products; general sugar confections such as chewing gum (e.g. including compositions which comprise a substantially water-insoluble, chewable gum base, such as chicle or substitutes thereof, including jetulong, guttakay rubber or certain comestible natural synthetic resins or waxes), hard candy, soft candy, mints, nougat candy, jelly beans, fudge, toffee, taffy, Swiss milk tablet, licorice candy, chocolates, gelatin candies, marshmallow, marzipan, divinity, cotton candy, and the like; sauces including fruit flavored sauces, chocolate sauces and the like; edible gels; cremes including butter cremes, flour pastes, whipped cream and the like; jams including strawberry jam, marmalade and the like; and breads including sweet breads and the like or other starch products, and combinations thereof.

As referred to herein, "base composition" means any composition which can be a food item and provides a matrix for carrying the sweetener component.

Suitable base compositions for embodiments of this invention may include flour, yeast, water, salt, butter, eggs, milk, milk powder, liquor, gelatin, nuts, chocolate, citric acid, tartaric acid, fumaric acid, natural flavors, artificial flavors, colorings, polyols, sorbitol, isomalt, maltitol, lactitol, malic acid, magnesium stearate, lecithin, hydrogenated glucose syrup, glycerine, natural or synthetic gum, starch, and the like, and combinations thereof. Such components generally are recognized as safe (GRAS) and/or are U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved. According to particular embodiments of the invention, the base composition is present in the confection in an amount ranging from about 0. 1 to about 99 weight percent of the confection. Generally, the base composition is present in the confection in an amount to provide a food product.

The base composition of the confection may optionally include other artificial or natural sweeteners, bulk sweeteners, or combinations thereof. Bulk sweeteners include both caloric and non-caloric compounds. Non-limiting examples of bulk sweeteners include sucrose, dextrose, maltose, dextrin, dried invert sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, levulose, galactose, corn syrup solids, tagatose, polyols (e.g., sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, lactitol, erythritoi, and maltitol), hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, trehalose, and mixtures thereof. Generally, the amount of bulk sweetener present in the confection ranges widely depending on the particular embodiment of the confection and the desired degree of sweetness. Those of ordinary skill in the art will readily ascertain the appropriate amount of bulk sweetener.

In a particular embodiment, a confection comprises HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract and a base composition. Generally, the amount of HSG-Extract in the confection ranges widely depending on the particular embodiment of the confection and the desired degree of sweetness. Those of ordinary skill in the art will readily ascertain the appropriate amount. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the confection in an amount in the range of about 30 ppm to about 6000 ppm of the confection. In another embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the confection in an amount in the range of about 1 ppm to about 10,000 ppm of the confection. In embodiments where the confection comprises hard candy, HSG-Extract is present in an amount in the range of about 150 ppm to about 2250 ppm of the hard candy.

Condiment Compositions

In one embodiment, the present invention is a condiment that comprises HSG-Extract. In another embodiment the present invention is a condiment that comprises a composition comprising HSG-Extract. Condiments, as used herein, are compositions used to enhance or improve the flavor of a food or beverage. Non-limiting examples of condiments include ketchup (catsup); mustard; barbecue sauce; butter; chili sauce; chutney; cocktail sauce; curry; dips; fish sauce; horseradish; hot sauce; jellies, jams, marmalades, or preserves; mayonnaise; peanut butter; relish; remoulade; salad dressings (e.g., oil and vinegar, Caesar, French, ranch, bleu cheese, Russian, Thousand Island, Italian, and balsamic vinaigrette), salsa; sauerkraut; soy sauce; steak sauce; syrups; tartar sauce; and Worcestershire sauce.

Condiment bases generally comprise a mixture of different ingredients, non-limiting examples of which include vehicles (e.g., water and vinegar); spices or seasonings (e.g., salt, pepper, garlic, mustard seed, onion, paprika, turmeric, and combinations thereof); fruits, vegetables, or their products (e.g., tomatoes or tomato-based products (paste, puree), fruit juices, fruit juice peels, and combinations thereof); oils or oil emulsions, particularly vegetable oils; thickeners (e.g., xanthan gum, food starch, other hydrocolloids, and combinations thereof); and emulsifying agents (e.g., egg yolk solids, protein, gum arabic, carob bean gum, guar gum, gum karaya, gum tragacanth, carageenan, pectin, propylene glycol esters of alginic acid, sodium carboxymethyl-cellulose, polysorbates, and combinations thereof). Recipes for condiment bases and methods of making condiment bases are well known to those of ordinary skill in the art.

Generally, condiments also comprise caloric sweeteners, such as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey, or brown sugar. In exemplary embodiments of the condiments provided herein, HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract is used instead of traditional caloric sweeteners. Accordingly, a condiment composition desirably comprises HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract and a condiment base.

The condiment composition optionally may include other natural and/or synthetic high-potency sweeteners, bulk sweeteners, pH modifying agents (e.g., lactic acid, citric acid, phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, acetic acid, and combinations thereof), fillers, functional agents (e.g., pharmaceutical agents, nutrients, or components of a food or plant), flavorings, colorings, or combinations thereof.

Chewing Gum Compositions

In one embodiment, the present invention is a chewing gum composition that comprises HSG-Extract. In another embodiment, the present invention is a chewing gum composition that comprises a composition comprising HSG-Extract. Chewing gum compositions generally comprise a water-soluble portion and a water-insoluble chewable gum base portion. The water soluble portion, which typically includes the composition of the present invention, dissipates with a portion of the flavoring agent over a period of time during chewing while the insoluble gum base portion is retained in the mouth. The insoluble gum base generally determines whether a gum is considered chewing gum, bubble gum, or a functional gum.

The insoluble gum base, which is generally present in the chewing gum composition in an amount in the range of about 15 to about 35 weight percent of the chewing gum composition, generally comprises combinations of elastomers, softeners (plasticizers), emulsifiers, resins, and fillers. Such components generally are considered food grade, recognized as safe (GRA), and/or are U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved. Elastomers, the primary component of the gum base, provide the rubbery, cohesive nature to gums and can include one or more natural rubbers (e.g., smoked latex, liquid latex, or guayule); natural gums (e.g., jelutong, perillo, sorva, massaranduba balata, massaranduba chocolate, nispero, rosindinha, chicle, and gutta hang kang); or synthetic elastomers (e.g., butadiene-styrene copolymers, isobutylene-isoprene copolymers, polybutadiene, polyisobutylene, and vinyl polymeric elastomers). In a particular embodiment, the elastomer is present in the gum base in an amount in the range of about 3 to about 50 weight percent of the gum base.

Resins are used to vary the firmness of the gum base and aid in softening the elastomer component of the gum base. Non-limiting examples of suitable resins include a rosin ester, a terpene resin (e.g., a terpene resin from a-pinene, β-pinene and/or d-limonene), polyvinyl acetate, polyvinyl alcohol, ethylene vinyl acetate, and vinyl acetate-vinyl laurate copolymers. Non-limiting examples of rosin esters include a glycerol ester of a partially hydrogenated rosin, a glycerol ester of a polymerized rosin, a glycerol ester of a partially dimerized rosin, a glycerol ester of rosin, a pentaerythritol ester of a partially hydrogenated rosin, a methyl ester of rosin, or a methyl ester of a partially hydrogenated rosin. In a particular embodiment, the resin is present in the gum base in an amount in the range of about 5 to about 75 weight percent of the gum base.

Softeners, which also are known as plasticizers, are used to modify the ease of chewing and/or mouthfeel of the chewing gum composition. Generally, softeners comprise oils, fats, waxes, and emulsifiers. Non-limiting examples of oils and fats include tallow, hydrogenated tallow, large, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (e.g., soybean, canola, cottonseed, sunflower, palm, coconut, corn, safflower, or palm kernel oils), cocoa butter, glycerol monostearate, glycerol triacetate, glycerol abietate, leithin, monoglycerides, diglycerides, triglycerides acetylated monoglycerides, and free fatty acids. Non-limiting examples of waxes include polypropylene/polyethylene/Fisher-Tropsch waxes, paraffin, and microcrystalline and natural waxes (e.g., candelilla, beeswax and carnauba). Microcrystalline waxes, especially those with a high degree of crystallinity and a high melting point, also may be considered as bodying agents or textural modifiers. In a particular embodiment, the softeners are present in the gum base in an amount in the range of about 0.5 to about 25 weight percent of the gum base.

Emulsifiers are used to form a uniform dispersion of the insoluble and soluble phases of the chewing gum composition and also have plasticizing properties. Suitable emulsifiers include glycerol monostearate (GMS), lecithin (Phosphatidyl choline), polyglycerol polyricinoleic acid (PPGR), mono and diglycerides of fatty acids, glycerol distearate, tracetin, acetylated monoglyceride, glycerol triactetate, and magnesium stearate. In a particular embodiment, the emulsifiers are present in the gum base in an amount in the range of about 2 to about 30 weight percent of the gum base.

The chewing gum composition also may comprise adjuvants or fillers in either the gum base and/or the soluble portion of the chewing gum composition. Suitable adjuvants and fillers include lecithin, inulin, polydextrin, calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium silicate, ground limestome, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum silicate, talc, clay, alumina, titanium dioxide, and calcium phosphate. In particular embodiments, lecithin can be used as an inert filler to decrease the stickiness of the chewing gum composition. In other particular embodiments, lactic acid copolymers, proteins (e.g., gluten and/or zein) and/or guar can be used to create a gum that is more readily biodegradable. The adjuvants or fillers are generally present in the gum base in an amount up to about 20 weight percent of the gum base. Other optional ingredients include coloring agents, whiteners, preservatives, and flavors.

In particular embodiments of the chewing gum composition, the gum base comprises about 5 to about 95 weight percent of the chewing gum composition, more desirably about 15 to about 50 weight percent of the chewing gum composition, and even more desirably from about 20 to about 30 weight percent of the chewing gum composition.

The soluble portion of the chewing gum composition may optionally include other artificial or natural sweeteners, bulk sweeteners, softeners, emulsifiers, flavoring agents, coloring agents, adjuvants, fillers, functional agents (e.g., pharmaceutical agents or nutrients), or combinations thereof. Suitable examples of softeners and emulsifiers are described above.

Bulk sweeteners include both caloric and non-caloric compounds. Non-limiting examples of bulk sweeteners include sucrose, dextrose, maltose, dextrin, dried invert sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, levulose, galactose, corn syrup solids, tagatose, polyols (e.g., sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, lactitol, erythritol, and maltitol), hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, trehalose, and mixtures thereof. In particular embodiments, the bulk sweetener is present in the chewing gum composition in an amount in the range of about 1 to about 75 weight percent of the chewing gum composition.

Flavoring agents may be used in either the insoluble gum base or soluble portion of the chewing gum composition. Such flavoring agents may be natural or artificial flavors. In a particular embodiment, the flavoring agent comprises an essential oil, such as an oil derived from a plant or a fruit, peppermint oil, spearmint oil, other mint oils, clove oil, cinnamon oil, oil of wintergreen, bay, thyme, cedar leaf, nutmeg, allspice, sage, mace, and almonds. In another particular embodiment, the flavoring agent comprises a plant extract or a fruit essence such as apple, banana, watermelon, pear, peach, grape, strawberry, raspberry, cherry, plum, pineapple, apricot, and mixtures thereof. In still another particular embodiment, the flavoring agent comprises a citrus flavor, such as an extract, essence, or oil of lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, citron, or kumquat.

In a particular embodiment, a chewing gum composition comprises HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract and a gum base. In a particular embodiment, HSG- Extract is present in the chewing gum composition in an amount in the range of about 1 ppm to about 10,000 ppm of the chewing gum composition.

Cereal Compositions

In one embodiment, the present invention is a cereal composition that comprises HSG-Extract. In another embodiment, the present invention is a cereal composition that comprises a composition comprising HSG-Extract. Cereal compositions typically are eaten either as staple foods or as snacks. Non-limiting examples of cereal compositions for use in particular embodiments include ready-to-eat cereals as well as hot cereals. Ready-to-eat cereals are cereals which may be eaten without further processing (i.e. cooking) by the consumer. Examples of ready-to-eat cereals include breakfast cereals and snack bars. Breakfast cereals typically are processed to produce a shredded, flaky, puffy, or extruded form. Breakfast cereals generally are eaten cold and are often mixed with milk and/or fruit. Snack bars include, for example, energy bars, rice cakes, granola bars, and nutritional bars. Hot cereals generally are cooked, usually in either milk or water, before being eaten. Non- limiting examples of hot cereals include grits, porridge, polenta, rice, and rolled oats.

Cereal compositions generally comprise at least one cereal ingredient. As used herein, the term "cereal ingredient" denotes materials such as whole or part grains, whole or part seeds, and whole or part grass. Non-limiting examples of cereal ingredients for use in particular embodiments include maize, wheat, rice, barley, bran, bran endosperm, bulgur, soghums, millets, oats, rye, triticale, buckwheat, fonio, quinoa, bean, soybean, amaranth, teff, spelt, and kaniwa.

In a particular embodiment, the cereal composition comprises HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract and at least one cereal ingredient. HSG-Extract or the composition comprising HSG-Extract may be added to the cereal composition in a variety of ways, such as, for example, as a coating, as a frosting, as a glaze, or as a matrix blend (i.e. added as an ingredient to the cereal formulation prior to the preparation of the final cereal product).

Accordingly, in a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract is added to the cereal composition as a matrix blend. In one embodiment, HSG- Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract is blended with a hot cereal prior to cooking to provide a sweetened hot cereal product. In another embodiment, HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract is blended with the cereal matrix before the cereal is extruded.

In another particular embodiment, HSG-Extract or a composition comprising a HSG- Extract is added to the cereal composition as a coating, such as, for example, by combining HSG-Extract or a comprising HSG-Extract with a food grade oil and applying the mixture onto the cereal. In a different embodiment, HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG- Extract and the food grade oil may be applied to the cereal separately, by applying either the oil or the sweetener first. Non-limiting examples of food grade oils for use in particular embodiments include vegetable oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil, coconut oil, canola oil, olive oil, sesame seed oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and mixtures thereof. In yet another embodiment, food grade fats may be used in place of the oils, provided that the fat is melted prior to applying the fat onto the cereal.

In another embodiment, HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract is added to the cereal composition as a glaze. Non-limiting examples of glazing agents for use in particular embodiments include corn syrup, honey syrups and honey syrup solids, maple syrups and maple syrup solids, sucrose, isomalt, polydextrose, polyols, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, aqueous solutions thereof, and mixtures thereof. In another such embodiment, HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract is added as a glaze by combining with a glazing agent and a food grade oil or fat and applying the mixture to the cereal. In yet another embodiment, a gum system, such as, for example, gum acacia, carboxymethyl cellulose, or algin, may be added to the glaze to provide structural support. In addition, the glaze also may include a coloring agent, and also may include a flavor.

In another embodiment, HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract is added to the cereal composition as a frosting. In one such embodiment, HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract is combined with water and a frosting agent and then applied to the cereal. Non-limiting examples of frosting agents for use in particular embodiments include maltodextrin, sucrose, starch, polyols, and mixtures thereof. The frosting also may include a food grade oil, a food grade fat, a coloring agent, and/or a flavor. Generally, the amount of HSG-Extract in a cereal composition varies widely depending on the particular type of cereal composition and its desired sweetness. Those of ordinary skill in the art can readily discern the appropriate amount of sweetener to put in the cereal composition. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the cereal composition in an amount in the range of about 0.02 to about 1.5 weight percent of the cereal composition and the at least one additive is present in the cereal composition in an amount in the range of about 1 to about 5 weight percent of the cereal composition.

Baked Goods

In one embodiment, the present invention is a baked good that comprises HSG- Extract. In another embodiment, the present invention is a baked good that comprises a composition comprising HSG-Extract. Baked goods, as used herein, include ready to eat and all ready to bake products, flours, and mixes requiring preparation before serving. Non- limiting examples of baked goods include cakes, crackers, cookies, brownies, muffins, rolls, bagels, donuts, strudels, pastries, croissants, biscuits, bread, bread products, and buns.

Preferred baked goods in accordance with embodiments of this invention can be classified into three groups: bread-type doughs (e.g., white breads, variety breads, soft buns, hard rolls, bagels, pizza dough, and flour tortillas), sweet doughs (e.g., danishes, croissants, crackers, puff pastry, pie crust, biscuits, and cookies), and batters (e.g., cakes such as sponge, pound, devil's food, cheesecake, and layer cake, donuts or other yeast raised cakes, brownies, and muffins). Doughs generally are characterized as being flour-based, whereas batters are more water-based.

Baked goods in accordance with particular embodiments of this invention generally comprise a combination of sweetener, water, and fat. Baked goods made in accordance with many embodiments of this invention also contain flour in order to make a dough or a batter. The term "dough" as used herein is a mixture of flour and other ingredients stiff enough to knead or roll. The term "batter" as used herein consists of flour, liquids such as milk or water, and other ingredients, and is thin enough to pour or drop from a spoon. Desirably, in accordance with particular embodiments of the invention, the flour is present in the baked goods in an amount in the range of about 15 to about 60 % on a dry weight basis, more desirably from about 23 to about 48 % on a dry weight basis. The type of flour may be selected based on the desired product. Generally, the flour comprises an edible non-toxic flour that is conventionally utilized in baked goods. According to particular embodiments, the flour may be a bleached bake flour, general purpose flour, or unbleached flour. In other particular embodiments, flours also may be used that have been treated in other manners. For example, in particular embodiments flour may be enriched with additional vitamins, minerals, or proteins. Non-limiting examples of flours suitable for use in particular embodiments of the invention include wheat, corn meal, whole grain, fractions of whole grains (wheat, bran, and oatmeal), and combinations thereof. Starches or farinaceous material also may be used as the flour in particular embodiments. Common food starches generally are derived from potato, corn, wheat, barley, oat, tapioca, arrow root, and sago. Modified starches and pregelatinized starches also may be used in particular embodiments of the invention.

The type of fat or oil used in particular embodiments of the invention may comprise any edible fat, oil, or combination thereof that is suitable for baking. Non-limiting examples of fats suitable for use in particular embodiments of the invention include vegetable oils, tallow, lard, marine oils, and combinations thereof. According to particular embodiments, the fats may be fractionated, partially hydrogenated, and/or intensified. In another particular embodiment, the fat desirably comprises reduced, low calorie, or non-digestible fats, fat substitutes, or synthetic fats. In yet another particular embodiment, shortenings, fats, or mixtures of hard and soft fats also may be used. In particular embodiments, shortenings may be derived principally from triglycerides derived from vegetable sources (e.g., cotton seed oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, linseed oil, sesame oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, rapeseed oil, safflower oil, coconut oil, corn oil, sunflower seed oil, and mixtures thereof). Synthetic or natural triglycerides of fatty acids having chain lengths from 8 to 24 carbon atoms also may be used in particular embodiments. Desirably, in accordance with particular embodiments of this invention, the fat is present in the baked good in an amount in the range of about 2 to about 35 % by weight on a dry basis, more desirably from about 3 to about 29 % by weight on a dry basis.

Baked goods in accordance with particular embodiments of this invention also comprise water in amounts sufficient to provide the desired consistency, enabling proper forming, machining and cutting of the baked good prior or subsequent to cooking. The total moisture content of the baked good includes any water added directly to the baked good as well as water present in separately added ingredients (e.g., flour, which generally includes about 12 to about 14 % by weight moisture). Desirably, in accordance with particular embodiments of this invention, the water is present in the baked good in an amount up to about 25 % by weight of the baked good.

Baked goods in accordance with particular embodiments of this invention also may comprise a number of additional conventional ingredients such as leavening agents, flavors, colors, milk, milk by-products, egg, egg by-products, cocoa, vanilla or other flavoring, as well as inclusions such as nuts, raisins, cherries, apples, apricots, peaches, other fruits, citrus peel, preservative, coconuts, flavored chips such a chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and caramel chips, and combinations thereof. In particular embodiments, the baked goods may also comprise emulsifiers, such as lecithin and monoglycerides.

According to particular embodiments of this invention, leavening agents may comprise chemical leavening agents or yeast leavening agents. Non-limiting examples of chemical leavening agents suitable for use in particular embodiments of this invention include baking soda (e.g., sodium, potassium, or aluminum bicarbonate), baking acid (e.g., sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, or dicalcium phosphate), and combinations thereof.

In accordance with another particular embodiment of this invention, cocoa may comprise natural or "Dutched" chocolate from which a substantial portion of the fat or cocoa butter has been expressed or removed by solvent extraction, pressing, or other means. In a particular embodiment, it may be necessary to reduce the amount of fat in a baked good comprising chocolate because of the additional fat present in cocoa butter. In particular embodiments, it may be necessary to add larger amounts of chocolate as compared to cocoa in order to provide an equivalent amount of flavoring and coloring.

Baked goods generally also comprise caloric sweeteners, such as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, erythritol, molasses, honey, or brown sugar. In exemplary embodiments of the baked goods provided herein, the caloric sweetener is replaced partially or totally with HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract. Accordingly, in one embodiment a baked good comprises HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract in combination with a fat, water, and optionally flour. In a particular embodiment, the baked good optionally may include other natural and/or synthetic high-potency sweeteners and/or bulk sweeteners.

Dairy Products

In one embodiment, the consumable of the present invention is a dairy product that comprises HSG-Extract. In another embodiment, the consumable of the present invention is a dairy product that comprises a composition comprising HSG-Extract. Dairy products and processes for making dairy products suitable for use in this invention are well known to those of ordinary skill in the art. Dairy products, as used herein, comprise milk or foodstuffs produced from milk. Non-limiting examples of dairy products suitable for use in embodiments of this invention include milk, milk cream, sour cream, creme fraiche, buttermilk, cultured buttermilk, milk powder, condensed milk, evaporated milk, butter, cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, ice cream, frozen custard, frozen yogurt, gelato, via, piima, filmjolk, kajmak, kephir, viili, kumiss, airag, ice milk, casein, ayran, lassi, khoa, or combinations thereof.

Milk is a fluid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals for the nourishment of their young. The female ability to produce milk is one of the defining characteristics of mammals and provides the primary source of nutrition for newborns before they are able to digest more diverse foods. In particular embodiments of this invention, the dairy products are derived from the raw milk of cows, goats, sheep, horses, donkeys, camels, water buffalo, yaks, reindeer, moose, or humans.

In particular embodiments of this invention, the processing of the dairy product from raw milk generally comprises the steps of pasteurizing, creaming, and homogenizing. Although raw milk may be consumed without pasteurization, it usually is pasteurized to destroy harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, molds, and yeasts. Pasteurizing generally comprises heating the milk to a high temperature for a short period of time to substantially reduce the number of microorganisms, thereby reducing the risk of disease.

Creaming traditionally follows pasteurization step, and involves the separation of milk into a higher-fat cream layer and a lower-fat milk layer. Milk will separate into milk and cream layers upon standing for twelve to twenty-four hours. The cream rises to the top of the milk layer and may be skimmed and used as a separate dairy product. Alternatively, centrifuges may be used to separate the cream from the milk. The remaining milk is classified according to the fat content of the milk, non-limiting examples of which include whole, 2 %, 1 %, and skim milk. After removing the desired amount of fat from the milk by creaming, milk is often homogenized. Homogenization prevents cream from separating from the milk and generally involves pumping the milk at high pressures through narrow tubes in order to break up fat globules in the milk. Pasteurization, creaming, and homogenization of milk are common but are not required to produce consumable dairy products. Accordingly, suitable dairy products for use in embodiments of this invention may undergo no processing steps, a single processing step, or combinations of the processing steps described herein. Suitable dairy products for use in embodiments of this invention may also undergo processing steps in addition to or apart from the processing steps described herein.

Particular embodiments of this invention comprise dairy products produced from milk by additional processing steps. As described above, cream may be skimmed from the top of milk or separated from the milk using machine-centrifuges. In a particular embodiment, the dairy product comprises sour cream, a dairy product rich in fats that is obtained by fermenting cream using a bacterial culture. The bacteria produce lactic acid during fermentation, which sours and thickens the cream. In another particular embodiment, the dairy product comprises creme fraiche, a heavy cream slightly soured with bacterial culture in a similar manner to sour cream. Creme fraiche ordinarily is not as thick or as sour as sour cream. In yet another particular embodiment, the dairy product comprises cultured buttermilk. Cultured buttermilk is obtained by adding bacteria to milk. The resulting fermentation, in which the bacterial culture turns lactose into lactic acid, gives cultured buttermilk a sour taste. Although it is produced in a different manner, cultured buttermilk generally is similar to traditional buttermilk, which is a by-product of butter manufacture.

According to other particular embodiments of this invention, the dairy products comprise milk powder, condensed milk, evaporated milk, or combinations thereof. Milk powder, condensed milk, and evaporated milk generally are produced by removing water from milk. In a particular embodiment, the dairy product comprises a milk powder comprising dried milk solids with a low moisture content. In another particular embodiment, the dairy product comprises condensed milk. Condensed milk generally comprises milk with a reduced water content and added sweetener, yielding a thick, sweet product with a long shelf-life. In yet another particular embodiment, the dairy product comprises evaporated milk. Evaporated milk generally comprises fresh, homogenized milk from which about 60 % of the water has been removed, that has been chilled, fortified with additives such as vitamins and stabilizers, packaged, and finally sterilized. According to another particular embodiment of this invention, the dairy product comprises a dry creamer and HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract.

In another particular embodiment, the dairy product provided herein comprises butter. Butter generally is made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. Butter generally comprises butterfat surrounding small droplets comprising mostly water and milk proteins. The churning process damages the membranes surrounding the microscopic globules of butterfat, allowing the milk fats to conjoin and to separate from the other parts of the cream. In yet another particular embodiment, the dairy product comprises buttermilk, which is the sour-tasting liquid remaining after producing butter from full-cream milk by the churning process.

In still another particular embodiment, the dairy product comprises cheese, a solid foodstuff produced by curdling milk using a combination of rennet or rennet substitutes and acidification. Rennet, a natural complex of enzymes produced in mammalian stomachs to digest milk, is used in cheese-making to curdle the milk, causing it to separate into solids known as curds and liquids known as whey. Generally, rennet is obtained from the stomachs of young ruminants, such as calves; however, alternative sources of rennet include some plants, microbial organisms, and genetically modified bacteria, fungus, or yeast. In addition, milk may be coagulated by adding acid, such as citric acid. Generally, a combination of rennet and/or acidification is used to curdle the milk. After separating the milk into curds and whey, some cheeses are made by simply draining, salting, and packaging the curds. For most cheeses, however, more processing is needed. Many different methods may be used to produce the hundreds of available varieties of cheese. Processing methods include heating the cheese, cutting it into small cubes to drain, salting, stretching, cheddaring, washing, molding, aging, and ripening. Some cheeses, such as the blue cheeses, have additional bacteria or molds introduced to them before or during aging, imparting flavor and aroma to the finished product. Cottage cheese is a cheese curd product with a mild flavor that is drained but not pressed so that some whey remains. The curd is usually washed to remove acidity. Cream cheese is a soft, mild-tasting, white cheese with a high fat content that is produced by adding cream to milk and then curdling to form a rich curd. Alternatively, cream cheese can be made from skim milk with cream added to the curd. It should be understood that cheese, as used herein, comprises all solid foodstuff produced by the curdling milk.

In another particular embodiment of this invention, the dairy product comprises yogurt. Yogurt generally is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. The fermentation of lactose produces lactic acid, which acts on proteins in milk to give the yogurt a gel-like texture and tartness. In particularly desirable embodiments, the yogurt may be sweetened with a sweetener and/or flavored. Non-limiting examples of flavorings include, but are not limited to, fruits (e.g., peach, strawberry, banana), vanilla, and chocolate. Yogurt, as used herein, also includes yogurt varieties with different consistencies and viscosities, such as dahi, dadih or dadiah, labneh or labaneh, bulgarian, kefir, and matsoni. In another particular embodiment, the dairy product comprises a yogurt-based beverage, also known as drinkable yogurt or a yogurt smoothie. In particularly desirable embodiments, the yogurt-based beverage may comprise sweeteners, flavorings, other ingredients, or combinations thereof.

Other dairy products beyond those described herein may be used in particular embodiments of this invention. Such dairy products are well known to those of ordinary skill in the art, non-limiting examples of which include milk, milk and juice, coffee, tea, via, piima, filmjolk, kajmak, kephir, viili, kumiss, airag, ice milk, casein, ayran, lassi, and khoa.

According to particular embodiments of this invention, the dairy compositions also may comprise other additives. Non-limiting examples of suitable additives include sweeteners and flavorants such as chocolate, strawberry, and banana. Particular embodiments of the dairy compositions provided herein also may comprise additional nutritional supplements such as vitamins (e.g., vitamin D) and minerals (e.g., calcium) to improve the nutritional composition of the milk.

In a particularly desirable embodiment, the dairy composition comprises HSG-Extract or a composition comprising HSG-Extract in combination with a dairy product. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the dairy composition in an amount in the range of about 200 to about 20,000 weight percent of the dairy composition.

HSG-Extract or compositions comprising HSG-Extract is also suitable for use in processed agricultural products, livestock products or seafood; processed meat products such as sausage and the like; retort food products, pickles, preserves boiled in soy sauce, delicacies, side dishes; soups; snacks such as potato chips, cookies, or the like; as shredded filler, leaf, stem, stalk, homogenized leaf cured and animal feed.

Tabletop Sweetener Compositions

In one embodiment, the present invention is a tabletop sweetener comprising HSG- Extract. The tabletop composition can further include at least one bulking agent, additive, anti-caking agent, functional ingredient or combination thereof.

Suitable "bulking agents" include, but are not limited to, maltodextrin (10 DE, 18 DE, or 5 DE), corn syrup solids (20 or 36 DE), sucrose, fructose, glucose, invert sugar, sorbitol, xylose, ribulose, mannose, xylitol, mannitol, galactitol, erythritol, maltitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltose, tagatose, lactose, inulin, glycerol, propylene glycol, polyols, polydextrose, fructooligosaccharides, cellulose and cellulose derivatives, and the like, and mixtures thereof. Additionally, in accordance with still other embodiments of the invention, granulated sugar (sucrose) or other caloric sweeteners such as crystalline fructose, other carbohydrates, or sugar alcohol can be used as a bulking agent due to their provision of good content uniformity without the addition of significant calories.

As used herein, the phrase ''anti-caking agent" and "flow agent" refer to any composition which assists in content uniformity and uniform dissolution. In accordance with particular embodiments, non-limiting examples of anti-caking agents include cream of tartar, calcium silicate, silicon dioxide, microcrystalline cellulose (Avicel, FMC BioPolymer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), and tricalcium phosphate. In one embodiment, the anti-caking agents are present in the tabletop sweetener composition in an amount from about 0.001 to about 3 % by weight of the tabletop sweetener composition.

The tabletop sweetener compositions can be packaged in any form known in the art. Non-limiting forms include, but are not limited to, powder form, granular form, packets, tablets, sachets, pellets, cubes, solids, and liquids.

In one embodiment, the tabletop sweetener composition is a single-serving (portion control) packet comprising a dry-blend. Dry-blend formulations generally may comprise powder or granules. Although the tabletop sweetener composition may be in a packet of any size, an illustrative non-limiting example of conventional portion control tabletop sweetener packets are approximately 2.5 by 1 .5 inches and hold approximately 1 gram of a sweetener composition having a sweetness equivalent to 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar (~ 8 g). The amount of HSG-Extract in a dry-blend tabletop sweetener formulation can vary. In a particular embodiment, a dry-blend tabletop sweetener formulation may contain HSG-Extract in an amount from about 1 % (w/w) to about 10 % (w/w) of the tabletop sweetener composition.

Solid tabletop sweetener embodiments include cubes and tablets. A non-limiting example of conventional cubes are equivalent in size to a standard cube of granulated sugar, which is approximately 2.2 x 2.2 x 2.2 cm 3 and weigh approximately 8 g. In one embodiment, a solid tabletop sweetener is in the form of a tablet or any other form known to those skilled in the art.

A tabletop sweetener composition also may be embodied in the form of a liquid, wherein HSG-Extract is combined with a liquid carrier. Suitable non-limiting examples of carrier agents for liquid tabletop sweeteners include water, alcohol, polyol, glycerin base or citric acid base dissolved in water, and mixtures thereof. The sweetness equivalent of a tabletop sweetener composition for any of the forms described herein or known in the art may be varied to obtain a desired sweetness profile. For example, a tabletop sweetener composition may comprise a sweetness comparable to that of an equivalent amount of standard sugar. In another embodiment, the tabletop sweetener composition may comprise a sweetness of up to 100 times that of an equivalent amount of sugar. In another embodiment, the tabletop sweetener composition may comprise a sweetness of up to 90 times, 80 times, 70 times, 60 times, 50 times, 40 times, 30 times, 20 times, 10 times, 9 times, 8 times, 7 times, 6 times, 5 times, 4 times, 3 times, and 2 times that of an equivalent amount of sugar.

Beverage and Beverage Products

In one embodiment, the present invention is a beverage or beverage product comprising HSG-Extract. In another embodiment, the present invention is a beverage or beverage comprising a composition that comprises HSG-Extract.

As used herein a "beverage product" is a ready-to-drink beverage, a beverage concentrate, a beverage syrup, or a powdered beverage. Suitable ready-to-drink beverages include carbonated and non-carbonated beverages. Carbonated beverages include, but are not limited to, enhanced sparkling beverages, cola, lemon-lime flavored sparkling beverage, orange flavored sparkling beverage, grape flavored sparkling beverage, strawberry flavored sparkling beverage, pineapple flavored sparkling beverage, ginger-ale, soft drinks and root beer. Non-carbonated beverages include, but are not limited to fruit juice, fruit-flavored juice, juice drinks, nectars, vegetable juice, vegetable-flavored juice, sports drinks, energy drinks, enhanced water drinks, enhanced water with vitamins, near water drinks (e.g., water with natural or synthetic flavorants), coconut water, tea type drinks (e.g. black tea, green tea, red tea, oolong tea), coffee, cocoa drink, beverage containing milk components (e.g. milk beverages, coffee containing milk components, cafe au lait, milk tea, fruit milk beverages), beverages containing cereal extracts, smoothies and combinations thereof.

Beverage concentrates and beverage syrups are prepared with an initial volume of liquid matrix (e.g. water) and the desired beverage ingredients. Full strength beverages are then prepared by adding further volumes of water. Powdered beverages are prepared by dry- mixing all of the beverage ingredients in the absence of a liquid matrix. Full strength beverages are then prepared by adding the full volume of water.

Beverages comprise a liquid matrix, i.e. the basic ingredient in which the ingredients - including the compositions of the present invention - are dissolved. In one embodiment, a beverage comprises water of beverage quality as the liquid matrix, such as, for example deionized water, distilled water, reverse osmosis water, carbon-treated water, purified water, demineralized water and combinations thereof, can be used. Additional suitable liquid matrices include, but are not limited to phosphoric acid, phosphate buffer, citric acid, citrate buffer and carbon-treated water.

In one embodiment, the consumable of the present invention is a beverage that comprises a HSG-Extract.

In another embodiment, a beverage contains a composition comprising HSG-Extract.

In a further embodiment, the present invention is a beverage product comprising HSG-Extract.

In another embodiment, the present invention is a beverage product that contains a composition comprising HSG-Extract.

The concentration of HSG-Extract in the beverage may be above, at or below its threshold sweetness or recognition concentration.

In a particular embodiment, the concentration of HSG-Extract in the beverage is above its threshold sweetness or flavor recognition concentration. In one embodiment, the concentration of HSG-Extract is at least about 1 %, at least about 5%, at least about 10%, at least about 15%, at least about 20%, at least about 25%, at least about 30%, about least about 35%, at least about 40%, about least about 45%, at least about 50% or more above its threshold sweetness or flavor recognition concentration.

In another particular embodiment, the concentration of HSG-Extract in the beverage is at or approximately the threshold sweetness or flavor recognition concentration of HSG- Extract.

In yet another particular embodiment, the concentration of HSG-Extract in the beverage is below the threshold sweetness or flavor recognition concentration of HSG- Extract. In one embodiment, the concentration of HSG-Extract is at least about 1 %, at least about 5%, at least about 10%, at least about 15%, at least about 20%, at least about 25%, at least about 30%, about least about 35%, at least about 40%, about least about 45%, at least about 50% or more below its threshold sweetness or flavor recognition concentration.

In one embodiment, the present invention is a beverage or beverage product that contains HSG-Extract in an amount ranging from about 1 ppm to about 10,000 ppm, such as, for example, from about 25 ppm to about 800 ppm. In another embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in a beverage in an amount ranging from about 100 ppm to about 600 ppm. In yet other embodiments, HSG-Extract is present in a beverage in an amount ranging from about 100 to about 200 ppm, from about 100 ppm to about 300 ppm, from about 100 ppm to about 400 ppm, or from about 100 ppm to about 500 ppm. In still another embodiment, HSG- Extract is present in the beverage or beverage product in an amount ranging from about 300 to about 700 ppm, such as, for example, from about 400 ppm to about 600 ppm. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in a beverage an amount of about 500 ppm.

The beverage can further include at least one additional sweetener. Any of the sweeteners detailed herein can be used, including natural, non-natural, or synthetic sweeteners. These may be added to the beverage either before, contemporaneously with or after HSG-Extract.

In one embodiment, the beverage contains a carbohydrate sweetener in a concentration from about 100 ppm to about 140,000 ppm. Synthetic sweeteners may be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 0.3 ppm to about 3,500 ppm. Natural high potency sweeteners may be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 0.1 ppm to about 3,000 ppm.

The beverage can further comprise additives including, but not limited to, carbohydrates, polyols, amino acids and their corresponding salts, poly-amino acids and their corresponding salts, sugar acids and their corresponding salts, nucleotides, organic acids, inorganic acids, organic salts including organic acid salts and organic base salts, inorganic salts, bitter compounds, caffeine, flavorants and flavoring ingredients, astringent compounds, proteins or protein hydrolysates, surfactants, emulsifiers, weighing agents, juice, dairy, cereal and other plant extracts, flavonoids, alcohols, polymers and combinations thereof. Any suitable additive described herein can be used.

In one embodiment, the polyol can be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 100 ppm to about 250,000 ppm, such as, for example, from about 5,000 ppm to about 40,000 ppm.

In another embodiment, the amino acid can be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 10 ppm to about 50,000 ppm, such as, for example, from about 1 ,000 ppm to about 10,000 ppm, from about 2,500 ppm to about 5,000 ppm or from about 250 ppm to about 7,500 ppm.

In still another embodiment, the nucleotide can be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 5 ppm to about 1 ,000 ppm.

In yet another embodiment, the organic acid additive can be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 10 ppm to about 5,000 ppm.

In yet another embodiment, the inorganic acid additive can be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 25 ppm to about 25,000 ppm. In still another embodiment, the bitter compound can be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 25 ppm to about 25,000 ppm.

In yet another embodiment, the flavorant can be present in the beverage a concentration from about 0. 1 ppm to about 4,000 ppm.

In a still further embodiment, the polymer can be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 30 ppm to about 2,000 ppm.

In another embodiment, the protein hydrolysate can be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 200 ppm to about 50,000.

In yet another embodiment, the surfactant additive can be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 30 ppm to about 2,000 ppm.

In still another embodiment, the flavonoid additive can be present in the beverage a concentration from about 0. 1 ppm to about 1 ,000 ppm.

In yet another embodiment, the alcohol additive can be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 625 ppm to about 10,000 ppm.

In a still further embodiment, the astringent additive can be present in the beverage in a concentration from about 10 ppm to about 5,000 ppm.

The beverage can further contain one or more functional ingredients, detailed above. Functional ingredients include, but are not limited to, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, preservatives, glucosamine, polyphenols and combinations thereof. Any suitable functional ingredient described herein can be used.

It is contemplated that the pH of the consumable, such as, for example, a beverage, does not materially or adversely affect the taste of the sweetener. A non-limiting example of the pH range of the beverage may be from about 1.8 to about 10. A further example includes a pH range from about 2 to about 5. In a particular embodiment, the pH of beverage can be from about 2.5 to about 4.2. One of skill in the art will understand that the pH of the beverage can vary based on the type of beverage. Dairy beverages, for example, can have pH greater than 4.2.

The titratable acidity of a beverage comprising HSG-Extract may, for example, range from about 0.01 to about 1.0% by weight of beverage.

In one embodiment, the sparkling beverage product has an acidity from about 0.01 to about 1 .0% by weight of the beverage, such as, for example, from about 0.05% to about 0.25% by weight of beverage.

The carbonation of a sparkling beverage product has 0 to about 2% (w/w) of carbon dioxide or its equivalent, for example, from about 0.1 to about 1.0% (w/w). The temperature of a beverage may, for example, range from about 4°C to about 100 °C, such as, for example, from about 4°C to about 25°C.

The beverage can be a full-calorie beverage that has up to about 120 calories per 8 oz serving.

The beverage can be a mid-calorie beverage that has up to about 60 calories per 8 oz serving.

The beverage can be a low-calorie beverage that has up to about 40 calories per 8 oz serving.

The beverage can be a zero-calorie that has less than about 5 calories per 8 oz. serving.

Methods of Use

The compounds and compositions of the present invention can be used to impart sweetness or to enhance the flavor or sweetness of consumables or other compositions.

In another aspect, the present invention is a method of preparing a consumable comprising (i) providing a consumable matrix and (ii) adding HSG-Extract to the consumable matrix to provide a consumable.

In a particular embodiment, the present invention is a method of preparing a beverage comprising (i) providing a liquid or beverage matrix and (ii) adding HSG-Extract to the consumable matrix to provide a beverage.

In another aspect, the present invention is a method of preparing a sweetened consumable comprising (i) providing a sweetenable consumable and (ii) adding HSG-Extract to the sweetenable consumable to provide a sweetened consumable.

In a particular embodiment, the present invention is a method of preparing a sweetened beverage comprising (i) providing a sweetenable beverage and (ii) adding HSG- Extract to the sweetenable beverage to provide a sweetened beverage.

In the above methods, HSG-Extract may be provided as such, or in form of a composition. When the HSG-Extract is provided as a composition, the amount of the composition is effective to provide a concentration of HSG-Extract that is above, at or below its threshold flavor or sweetness recognition concentration when the composition is added to the consumable (e.g., the beverage). When HSG-Extract is not provided as a composition, it may be added to the consumable at a concentration that is above, at or below its threshold flavor or sweetness recognition concentration. In one embodiment, the present invention is a method for enhancing the sweetness of a consumable comprising (i) providing a consumable comprising one or more sweet ingredients and (ii) adding HSG-Extract (1 ) to the consumable to provide a consumable with enhanced sweetness, wherein HSG-Extract is added to the consumable at a concentration at or below its threshold sweetness recognition concentration. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is added to the consumable at a concentration below its threshold sweetness recognition concentration.

In another embodiment, the present invention is a method for enhancing the sweetness of a consumable comprising (i) providing a consumable comprising one or more sweet ingredients and (ii) adding a composition comprising HSG-Extract to the consumable to provide a consumable with enhanced sweetness, wherein HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration of HSG-Extract at or below its threshold sweetness recognition concentration when the composition is added to the consumable. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration of HSG-Extract below its threshold sweetness recognition concentration.

In a particular embodiment, the present invention is a method for enhancing the sweetness of a beverage comprising (i) providing a beverage comprising at least one sweet ingredient and (ii) adding HSG-Extract to the beverage to provide a beverage with enhanced sweetness, wherein HSG-Extract is added to the beverage in an amount effective to provide a concentration at or below its threshold sweetness recognition concentration. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is added to the consumable in an amount effective to provide a concentration below its threshold sweetness recognition concentration.

In another particular embodiment, the present invention is a method for enhancing the sweetness of a beverage comprising (i) providing a beverage comprising one or more sweet ingredients and (ii) adding a composition comprising HSG-Extract to the consumable to provide a beverage with enhanced sweetness, wherein HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration of HSG-Extract at or below its threshold sweetness recognition concentration when the composition is added to the beverage. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration of HSG-Extract below its threshold sweetness recognition concentration when the composition is added to the beverage.

In another embodiment, the present invention is method for enhancing the flavor of a consumable, comprising (i) providing a consumable comprising at least one flavor ingredient and (ii) adding HSG-Extract to the consumable to provide a consumable with enhanced flavor, wherein HSG-Extract is added to the consumable at a concentration at or below its threshold flavor recognition concentration. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is added to the consumable at a concentration below its threshold flavor recognition concentration.

In another embodiment, the present invention is a method for enhancing the flavor of a consumable comprising (i) providing a consumable comprising at least one flavor ingredient and (ii) adding a composition HSG-Extract to the consumable to provide a consumable with enhanced flavor, wherein HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration of HSG-Extract at or below its threshold flavor recognition concentration when the composition is added to the consumable. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration of HSG-Extract below its threshold flavor recognition concentration when the composition is added to the consumable.

In a particular embodiment, the present invention is a method for enhancing the flavor of a beverage comprising (i) providing a beverage comprising at least one flavor ingredient and (ii) adding HSG-Extract to the beverage to provide a beverage with enhanced flavor, wherein HSG-Extract is added to the beverage at a concentration at or below its threshold flavor recognition concentration. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is added to the consumable at a concentration below its threshold flavor recognition concentration.

In a particular embodiment, the present invention is a method for enhancing the flavor of a beverage comprising (i) providing a beverage comprising at least one flavor ingredient and (ii) adding a composition comprising HSG-Extract to the beverage to provide a beverage with enhanced flavor wherein HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration of HSG-Extract at or below its threshold flavor recognition concentration when the composition is added to the beverage. In a particular embodiment, HSG-Extract is present in the composition in an amount effective to provide a concentration of HSG-Extract below its threshold flavor recognition concentration when the composition is added to the consumable.

The present invention also includes methods of preparing sweetened compositions (e.g., sweetened consumables) and flavor enhanced compositions (e.g., flavored enhanced consumables) by adding HSG-Extract or compositions comprising HSG-Extract to such compositions/consumables. The following examples illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention. It will be understood that the invention is not limited to the materials, proportions, conditions and procedures set forth in the examples, which are only illustrative.

EXAMPLE 1

Preparation of Stevia extracts

The extraction of Stevia rebaudiana dried leaves was carried out according to method described in US 13/122,232 (Morita et al.).

100 g of dry leaves obtained from Stevia rebaudiana varieties, was extracted several times with 20 times amount of water by weight until the sweetness cannot be tasted. The extract was passed through a column filled up with 300 mL of macroporous absorption resin (Diaion HP-20) wherein the steviol glycosides of the aqueous extract were absorbed to the resin and the majority of other impurities pass through the column without adsorbing to the resin. The resin was sufficiently washed with water to remove the impurities, and the adsorbed steviol glycosides were eluted with 900 mL of methanol. The eluate was passed through a column filled up with 200 mL of ion exchange resin (Diaion WA-30); 10 g of activated carbon was added to the eluate and stirred. The mixture was filtered, the filtrate was concentrated and the residue was dried to give Stevia extract comprising all the steviol glycosides originally present in the dried leaves of respective Stevia rebaudiana variety.

The obtained untreated aqueous extracts were used in various applications without any further purification, crystallization, separation, isolation of individual steviol glycosides.

EXAMPLE 2

HPLC assay

Any HPLC method or combination of HPLC methods capable of separating each steviol glycoside described herein can be used. The HPLC assay procedures described by Morita et al., 201 1 , and Ohta et al., 2010 were unable to separate properly the glycosides such as RebE, RebM, and RebD. Hence a HPLC methodology was developed to reliably determine and quantitate the steviol glycosides RebE, RebD, RebM, RebN, RebO, RebA, Stev, RebF, RebC, DulA, Rub, RebB, and Sbio.

Each sample was analyzed by 2 HPLC methods.

Melhod 1 was used for analysis of RebE, RebD, RebM, RebN, and RebO, while the Melhod 2 was used to analyze RebA, Stev, RebF, RebC, DulA, Rub, RebB, and Sbio. The reference standards for RebE, RebD, RebM, RebN, RebO and other steviol glycosides were purchased from ChromaDex Inc. (USA). Agilent 1200 HPLC system equipped with binary pump, autosampler, DAD detector interfaced with "Chemstation Ε software was used. Alternatively any other equivalent HPLC system may be used as well.

Method 1 Instrument conditions

Column: Agilent Poroshell 120 SB-C 18 2.7μηι, 4.6 x 150mm

Column Temperature: 40°C

Mobile Phase:

Solvent A l OmM Monosodium dihydrogen Phosphate pH2.6 : Acetonitrile, 75%:25% (v/v) Solvent B Water : Acetonitrile, 50%:50% (v/v)

Gradient pro ram % v/v:

Flow rate: 0.5 mL/min

Injection: 5 μΐ,

Detection: U V at 210 nm

Run time: 25 min

Post time: 10 min

Autosampler temperature: Ambient Method 2 Instrument conditions

Column: Agilent Poroshell 120 SB-C 18 2.7μιη, 4.6 x 150mm.

Column Temperature: 40°C

Mobile phase: Isocratic l OmM Monosodium dihydrogen Phosphate pH2.6 : Acetonitrile, 68%:32% (v/v)

Flow rate: 1 .0 mL/min

Injection: 5

Detection: UV at 210 nm

Run time: 20 min

Autosampler temperature: Ambient

The Table 1 summarizes the concentrations of steviol glycosides (% wt/wt, dry basis) in various extracts and leaves. The varieties 805082 (high RebA) and 803066 (high Stevioside) are provided as controls. It can be seen that in extracts derived from common Stevia rebaudiana the highest concentration of rebE, rebM, rebD, rebN and rebO are 0.9%, 1 .33%, 2.10%), 1.4%) and 0.6%> respectively. Meanwhile in the extracts derived from the Stevia rebaudiana cultivars of present invention the concentration of rebE, rebM, RebD, rebN and rebO can reach up to 17.49%, 7.64%, 23.04%, 4.87% and 5.85% respectively. Table 1

Concentrations (% wt/wt. dry basis) of steviol glycosides in leaves and untreated aqueous extracts of leaves of common Stevia rebaudiana varieties (Morita et al. 201JJ3hta et al., 2010) and the varieties

of the present invention

* m Morita et al.. 201 1 the Variety A RebE peak is labeled as "Ill+Rebau E"; Varieties B and ST RebE peaks are labeled as "Rebau E+111+1V"

** in Morita et al., 201 1 the Varieties /), B, C, and 57 ' RebM peaks are labeled as "Rebaud D + VIII"

* * * ND - Not Detected (the concentration is below detection limit) Table 2 summarizes the relative concentrations of steviol glycosides (%) in various extracts and leaves. It can be seen that in extracts derived from common Stevia rebaudiana the highest relative concentration of rebE, rebM, RebD, rebN and rebO are 0.99%, 1.36%, 2.33%, 1.55% and 0.67% respectively. Meanwhile in the extracts derived from the Stevia rebaudiana cultivars of present invention the relative concentration of rebE, rebM, RebD, rebN and rebO can reach up to 18.21 %, 8.01 %, 23.99%, 5.07% and 6.13% respectively. Table 2

Relative Concentrations (%) of steviol glycosides in leaves and untreated aqueous extracts of leaves of common Stevia rebaudiana varieties (Morita et al. 201 1 , Ohta et al,. 2010) and the varieties of the present invention

in Morita et al., 201 1 the Variety A RebE peak is labeled as "II I+Rebau E"; Varieties B and 57 ' RebE peaks are labeled Rebau E+lll+IV"

** in Morita et al., 201 1 the Varieties A, B, C, and S7 " RebM peaks are labeled as "Rebaud D + VIII"

*** ND - Not Detected (the concentration is below detection limit)

EXAMPLE 3

Low-calorie orange juice drink

Orange concentrate (35%), citric acid (0.35%), ascorbic acid (0.05%), orange red color (0.01 %), orange flavor (0.20%), ebaudioside A (0.003%) and different steviol glycosides compositions (0.03%) were blended and dissolved completely in water (up to 100%) and pasteurized. HSG-extracts and regular extracts were used as steviol glycoside compositions. HSG-extracts were represented by untreated aqueous extracts of Stevia rebaudiana 81401 1 , 807086, 817096 while common extracts were represented by untreated aqueous extracts of Stevia rebaudiana 805082, 803066, obtained according to EXAMPLE 1. The sensory evaluations of the samples are summarized in Table 3. The data show that the best results can be obtained by using the HSG extracts. Particularly the drinks prepared with HSG-Extracts exhibited a rounded and complete flavor profile and mouthfeel.

Table 3

Evaluation of orange juice drink samples

The same method can be used to prepare juices and juice drinks from other fruits, such as apples, lemons, apricots, cherries, pineapples, mangoes, etc.

EXAMPLE 4

Low-calorie carbonated beverage

A carbonated beverage according to formula presented below was prepared.

HSG-extracts and regular extracts were used as steviol glycoside compositions. HSG- extracts were represented by untreated aqueous extracts of Stevia rebaudicma 81401 1 , 807086, 817096 while common extracts were represented by untreated aqueous extracts of 5 Stevia rebaudicma 805082, 803066, obtained according to EXAMPLE 1.

The sensory properties were evaluated by 20 panelists. The results are summarized in Table 4.

Table 4

Evaluation of low-calorie carbonated bevera e sam les

10

The above results show that the beverage prepared using HSG-Extracts possessed the best organoleptic characteristics.

EXAMPLE 5

Diet cookies

15 Flour (50.0%), margarine (30.0%) fructose ( 10.0%), maltitol (8.0%), whole milk

( 1 .0%), salt (0.2%), baking powder (0.1 5%), vanillin (0.1 %) and different steviol glycoside compositions (0.03%) were kneaded well in dough-mixing machine. The obtained dough was molded and baked in oven at 200°C for 15 minutes. HSG-extracts and regular extracts were used as steviol glycoside compositions. HSG-extracts were represented by untreated aqueous 0 extracts of Stevia rebaudicma 81401 1 , 807086, 817096 while common extracts were represented by untreated aqueous extracts of Stevia rebaudicma 805082, 803066, obtained according to EXAMPLE 1 .

The sensory properties were evaluated by 20 panelists. The best results were obtained in samples prepared by HSG-Extracts. The panelists noted rounded and complete flavor 5 profile and mouthfeel in cookies prepared with HSG-Extracts. EXAMPLE 6

Yoghurt

Different steviol glycoside compositions (0.03%) and sucrose (4%) were dissolved in low fat milk. HSG-extracts and regular extracts were used as steviol glycoside compositions. HSG-extracts were represented by untreated aqueous extracts of Stevia rebaudiana 81401 1 , 807086, 817096 while common extracts were represented by untreated aqueous extracts of Stevia rebaudiana 805082, 803066, obtained according to EXAMPLE 1 . After pasteurizing at 82°C for 20 minutes, the milk was cooled to 37°C. A starter culture (3%) was added and the mixture was incubated at 37°C for 6 hours then at 5°C for 12 hours.

The sensory properties were evaluated by 20 panelists. The best results were obtained in samples prepared by HSG-extracts. The panelists noted rounded and complete flavor profile and mouthfeel in sample prepared with HSG-extracts.

EXAMPLE 7

HPLC assay

Steviol glycosides were analyzed in new Stevia rebaudiana varieties as per HPLC protocol described in Example 2.

Table 5 summarizes the concentrations of steviol glycosides (% wt/wt, dry basis). It can be seen that in the Stevia rebaudiana cultivars of present invention the highest concentration of RebE, RebD, RebN and RebO are 5.70%, 3.74%, 1 .30% and 3.75% respectively.

Table 5

Concentrations (% wt/wt, dry basis) of steviol glycosides in dried leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana varieties of the present invention

* ND - Not Detected (the concentration is below detection limit)

Table 6 summarizes the relative concentrations of steviol glycosides (%) in various leaves. It can be seen that in the Stevia rebaudiana cultivars of present invention the relative concentration of RebE, RebD, RebN and RebO can reach up to 68.52%, 41.10%, 14.75% and 46.99%) respectively.

Table 6

Relative Concentrations (%) of steviol glycosides in the dried leaves of Stevia rebaudiana varieties of the present invention

ND - Not Detected (the concentration is below detection limit) It is to be understood that the foregoing descriptions and specific embodiments shown herein are merely illustrative of the best mode of the invention and the principles thereof, and that modifications and additions may be easily made by those ski lled in the art without departing for the spirit and scope of the invention, which is therefore understood to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.