Navneet Kumar Verma, Asheesh Kumar Singh, Vikas Yadav, Prem Chand Mall, Rupali Jaiswal
Stevia rebaudiana leaves are natural sweetener and it contain diterpene glycosides which taste sweet but with zero calories in food products. Stevia has been used by native Guarani Indians of South America for centuries as sweetener to counteract the bitter taste of various medicines and beverages. Diterpene glycosides produced by this plant are 100–300 times sweeter than sucrose and are now used as sweeteners to replace sugar in foods and beverages. They remain stable at wide range of temperature and pH conditions in food products during processing and offer no shelf life limitations. These glycosides do not induce glycemic response when ingested, making them suitable for diabetics and obese persons. India has huge demand potentials for this natural sweetener because of increasing diabetic and obese population. In this article effort was made to discuss briefly about plant profile and basic techniques of cultivation, harvesting, drying and extraction of steviol glycosides. Minerals content reported that the high content of K, Ca, Mg, Na of stevia were present in the leaf; whereas, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, and Cr were found as trace amount. The responsible compounds for the natural sweetness of stevia leaves include a diversity of diterpenoid glycosides derived from a steviol skeleton. These steviol glycosides also exhibit a low calorific value as well as promising therapeutic applications.
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