One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An acidic amino acid which is a constituent of most proteins, and also occurs in sugar cane. It is important in the metabolism of nitrogen in animals, and also acts as a neurotransmitter.
- ‘Aspartame, a dipeptide of aspartic acid and a methyl ester of phenylalanine, is 200 times sweeter than sugar.’
- ‘Aspartame is an odorless, white crystalline powder derived from two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine.’
- ‘Infusion of the amino acids lysine and arginine, but not aspartic acid or glutamic acid, have been shown to stimulate the release of insulin in horses.’
- ‘The aspartic acid in aspartame excites brain cells, some say to a dangerous level.’
- ‘Carefully read food labels to see where you might be unknowingly ingesting aspartame; manufacturers sometimes list it as its components, the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine.’
Mid 19th century: aspartic from French aspartique, formed arbitrarily from Latin asparagus (see asparagus).
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