Aspartame occurs as an off white, almost odorless crystalline powder with an intensely sweet taste.

Nonproprietary Names

BP: AspartamePhEur: AspartameUSP-NF: Aspartame


(3S)-3-Amino-4-[[(1S)-1-benzyl-2-methoxy-2-oxoethyl]amino]-4-oxobutanoic acid; 3-amino-N-(a-carboxyphenethyl)succinamic acid N-methyl ester; 3-amino-N-(a-methoxycarbonylphenethyl)-succinamic acid; APM; aspartamum; aspartyl phenylamine methyl ester; Canderel; E951; Equal; methyl N-L-a-aspartyl-L-phenylalaninate; NatraTaste; NutraSweet; Pal Sweet; Pal Sweet Diet; Sanecta; SC-18862; Tri-Sweet.

Chemical Name and CAS Registry Number

N-L-a-Aspartyl-L-phenylalanine 1-methyl ester [22839-47-0]

Empirical Formula and Molecular Weight: C14H18N2O5 294.30

Functional Category: Sweetening agent.

Applications in Pharmaceutical Formulation or Technology

Aspartame is used as an intense sweetening agent in beverage products, food products, and table-top sweeteners, and in pharmaceutical preparations including tablets, powder mixes, and vitamin preparations. It enhances flavor systems and can be used to mask some unpleasant taste characteristics; the approximate sweetening power is 180–200 times that of sucrose.Unlike some other intense sweeteners, aspartame is metabolized in the body and consequently has some nutritive value: 1 g provides approximately 17 kJ (4 kcal). However, in practice, the small quantity of aspartame consumed provides a minimal nutritive effect.


Method of Manufacture

Aspartame is produced by coupling together L-phenylalanine (or Lphenylalanine methyl ester) and L aspartic acid, either chemically or enzymatically. The former procedure yields both the sweet a-aspartame and nonsweet b-aspartame from which the a-aspartame has to be separated and purified. The enzymatic process yields only a-aspartame.

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