The Invention Of Artificial Sweetener Was By Accident

Samuel Reason | June 10th, 2019

Constantin Fahlberg was a famous Russian chemist who by accident discovered an artificial sweetener by the name of saccharin, this allowed him to become extremely wealthy by mass producing it for the public Here is his story.

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The artificial sweetener was known as the new coal tar sugar, and despite the name that seems a bit off-putting it was a big deal back in 1879. The story of its invention is as much great scientific discovery kinds of by accident and a little by the study. Saccharin is known to be the oldest artificial sweetener.

And was discovered when Fahlberg was doing research on the chemical compounds that make up coal tar for Johns Hopkins University. The discovery was made when he made the error of rushing home for lunch, forgetting to wash his hands. Early in the day, Fahlberg had spilled chemicals all over his hands, and as he ate his food he noticed that everything seemed to taste unusually sweet. At first, he thought nothing of it, thinking that his bread was actually a cake or a sweetmeat.

Then he rinsed his mouth and washed his mustache with his napkin. This is when he realized something strange was going on, his napkin seemed even sweeter than the bread. Fahlberg then drank some water and even this tasted like he was drinking syrup. He realized he had discovered a universal sweetener, and it tasted even better than any confectionery he had ever eaten. He knew at that moment he had created a substance that out-sugared sugar!

He ran back to the lab and tasted every beaker in his lab, luckily none of them were poisonous. He found one that contained his invention but it was very impure, after a couple of months of studying he created the best way to make it, scientifically and commercially.

And Saccharin went on to be a big success, it does not decay, mold or ferment and also can’t be attacked by bacteria. During the sugar rationing of World War I was when it really blew up, causing it to be so popular that during the 1960s and 1970s we found Saccharin in diet soft drinks or Sweet’N Low.

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