Sugar, ahhh - - honey honey
you are my candy girl
and you got me wanting you
I just can't believe the loveliness of loving you
(I just can't believe its true)
I just can believe the wonder of this feeling too
(I just can't believe its true)
--Wilson Pickett, 1970 (Written by Barry and Andy Kim)
We are witnessing the dawning of a sci-fi food revolution. A new technology. A new food group. Amazingly, my research uncovered something nobody has ever revealed before in a column, newspaper article, or magazine expose. The next time you read "artificial flavor" on a food label, you should be aware that a component of that new genetically engineered food additive may be embryonic kidney cells from aborted human fetuses.
The new high-tech artificial flavors are not flavors at all. Instead, they contain chemicals which have been engineered to fool human taste buds. Future foods will need no salt, sugar, MSG, or artificial sweeteners. Instead, sensory perceptions will become warped by modern science. Brains will taste things that are not really there. Illusions. Deceptions. Memories of taste which are now artificially induced.
You may not understand the abstract of the most recent publication from this new food science, as published in the May 2, 2008 issue of the Journal of Biochemistry. I will translate.
J Biol Chem. 2008 May 2;283(18):11981-94.
Small molecule activator of the human epithelial sodium
channel.Lu M, Echeverri F, Kalabat D, Laita B, Dahan DS, Smith RD, Xu H, Staszewski L, Yamamoto J, Ling J, Hwang N, Kimmich R, Li P, Patron E, Keung W, Patron A, Moyer BD.
Senomyx, Inc., San Diego, California 92121.
The epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), a heterotrimeric complex composed of alpha, beta, and gamma subunits, belongs to the ENaC/degenerin family of ion channels and forms the principal route for apical Na(+) entry in many reabsorbing epithelia.
Although high affinity ENaC blockers, including amiloride and derivatives, have been described, potent and specific small molecule ENaC activators have not been reported. Here we describe compound S3969 that fully and reversibly activates human ENaC (hENaC) in an amiloride-sensitive and dose-dependent manner in heterologous cells. Mechanistically, S3969 increases hENaC open probability through interactions requiring the extracellular domain of the beta subunit. hENaC activation by S3969 did not require cleavage by the furin protease, indicating that nonproteolyzed channels can be opened. Function of alphabetaG37Sgamma hENaC, a channel defective in gating that leads to the salt-wasting disease pseudohypoaldosteronism type I, was rescued by S3969. Small molecule activation of hENaC may find application in alleviating human disease, including pseudohypoaldosteronism type I, hypotension, and neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, when improved Na(+) flux across epithelial membranes is clinically desirable.
OK, so what does it all mean? Another question:
What's $6 today and $100 in the Near Future?
From the Senomyx website:
Translation: Senomyx is re-inventing food and flavor by genetically engineering taste bud receptor cell triggers. Foods of the future will contain "flavor enhancers" which fool human taste buds into perceiving the sensations of sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and bitterness.
Remember the artificial sweetener controversies? Chemical sugar-replicating compounds are listed on food labels. The new chemicals made by biotech companies will require no such labels. Although they are not actual flavors, they will be called "artificial flavors."
How did Senomyx accomplish the task? A (multi-hour) review of their patents reveals that it all began with the cloning of human embryonic kidney cells. Step two was a recombinant process involving the combination of genetic material from embryonic kidney cells and human adeno-virus. If I had the ability to recall ten thousand abbreviations for the amino acid sequence, plus hundreds of complex combinations of ACTG (adeneine, cytosine, thymine, guanine) I'd describe the structure to you. For those curious scientists, do a google search with the keywords 'Senomyx and patents' and the third link (bioportfolio.com) will provide more info than you need to know. See: United States Patent #5,993,778.
How far into the future will these new biotech wonders appear in our food supply? The future is now. The next time you read "artificial flavor" on a food label, pause to consider what you've read here today. Content labels should read: Embryonic kidney cells from aborted human fetuses.
Senomyx is presently developing new products with many of the world's largest food manufacturers including Campbell's and Coca Cola. In fact, if you eat Nestle's foods, your taste buds are being artificially stimulated by biotech products developed by Senomyx. You may now know what you are eating, but I take this opportunity to paraphrase 17th century author Miguel Cervantes, who wrote in Don Quixote:
"The proof is in the pudding."