Comprehensive structure-activity-relationship studies of sensory active compounds in licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Christian Schmid, Anne Brockhoff, Yaron Ben Shoshan-Galeczki, Maximilian Kranz, Timo D. Stark, Rukiye Erkaya, Wolfgang Meyerhof, Masha Y. Niv, Corinna Dawid*, Thomas Hofmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Licorice saponins, the main constituents of Glycyrrhiza glabra L. roots, are highly appreciated by the consumer for their pleasant sweet and long lasting licorice taste. The objective of the present study was to understand the molecular features that contribute to bitter, sweet and licorice sensation of licorice roots, and whether individual compounds elicit more than one of these sensations. Therefore, a sensomics approach was conducted, followed by purification of the compounds with highest sensory impact, and by synthesis as well as full characterization via HRESIMS, ESIMS/MS and 1D/2D-NMR experiments. This led to the discovery and structure determination of 28 sweet, bitter and licorice tasting key phytochemicals, including two unknown compounds. A combination of sensorial, cell-based and computational analysis revealed distinct structural features, such as spatial arrangement of functional groups in the triterpenoid E-ring, driving to different taste sensations and sweet receptor hTAS1R2/R3 stimulation.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number130420
JournalFood Chemistry
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

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  • Glycyrrhizin
  • Modelling
  • SAR
  • Saponin
  • Sensomics
  • Taste receptor


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