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AH-B THEORY OF SWEET TASTE

In May of 1963 I met Robert Sands Shallenberger for the first time in a bar on University Avenue in Berkeley. He talked about the subtle and complex structure of sugars with such passion that I was thrilled when, after several drinks and many marked-up napkins, he asked me to be a student in his lab.

Starting from Shallenberger's notion (Shallenberger 1963) that the initial event in the perception of sweetness was the hydrogen bonding of a stimulant to receptors on the tongue, we developed a model we called "The AH-B Theory" of sweet taste published in Nature in 1967.

Although it is hard to remember exactly what I contributed to the theory, I clearly remember the excitment of our discussions. In 1970 I gave a talk at a meeting of the American Association of Cereal Chemists in Excelsior Springs Missouri while Shallenberger gave one in Switzerland. A paper, published in the proceeding and reprinted here, summarizes most of my views of the subject as I left the study of taste and turned to the study of olfaction. - Terry E. Acree

Listed below are the key papers on AH-B published between 1963 and 1971.

* Shallenberger, R. S., 1963, Hydrogen bonding and the varying sweetness of the sugars. J. Food Science 28, 584-589.
* Shallenberger, R. S., 1964, Why do sugars taste sweet? New Scientist 23, 569.
* Shallenberger, R.S., Acree, T.E. and Guild, W.E.,1965 Configuration, Conformation, and Sweetness of Hexose Anomers. J. Food Sci. 30(3): 560-563. abs
* Shallenberger, R.S. and Acree, T.E. 1967. Molecular theory of sweet taste. Nature (London) 216(5114): 480-2.abs
* Shallenberger, R.S., Acree, T.E. and Lee, C.Y. 1969. Sweet taste of D- and L-sugars and amino acids and the steric nature of their chemoreceptor site. Nature 221(5180): 555-6.abs
* Shallenberger, R.S. and Acree, T.E. 1969. Molecular structure and sweet taste. J. Agr. Food Chem 17(4): 701-3.abs
* Acree, T.E. 1970. A Molecular Theory of Sweet Taste - Amino Acids and Peptides. Carbohydrate/Protein Interactions Symposium, Excelsior Springs, MO, Carbohydrate/Oilseeds Division, American Association of Cereal Chemists.see reprint
* Shallenberger, R. S., and T. E. Acree 1971, Chemical structure of compounds and their sweet and bitter 'taste. In Handbook of Sensory Physiology IV, Chemical Senses (L. M. Beidler, Editor) Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 221-277 abs.