Electrocatalytic Synthesis of Dihydrochalcones

Electrocatalytic Synthesis of High-Intensity Sweetener Dihydrochalcones


Executive Summary

Converting flavonoids like naringin and neohesperidin to the high-intensity sweetener dihydrochalcone compounds offers challenges that are difficult to address. Our technology is a cost-efficient way to create naringin and neohesperidin dihydrochalcone compounds that can be used to make high-intensity sweeteners.

Description of Technology

The current methods for converting the flavonoids naringin and neohesperidin to dihydrochalcone compounds are expensive and require the use of strong base such as potassium hydroxide. In addition, some conversion methods have draw-backs to the use of the final compound in foods and drink products. MSU researchers developed a new method of creating naringin dihydrochalcone and neohesperidin dihydrochalcone compounds through electrocatalytic hydrogenation. The method is placing a solution containing naringin and/or neohesperidin in a negatively charged electrochemical cell with palladium or another catalyst. A reaction will then follow, hydrolyzing the flavones to naringin- and/or neohesperidin dihydrochalcone compounds. Juices containing naringin and/or neohesperidin may also be used as-is in the electrochemical cell to remove bitter compounds and sweeten juices without separation.

Key Benefits

  • create a high-value sweetener from citrus waste products
  • can be done directly on juice
  • the process has a low cost of electricity and no usage of high-pressure hydrogen
  • Process does not require basic conditions can be done directly on juice
  • Potentially can be used on other chalcone substrates.


  • Producing pure sweeteners for beverages, sweets, medications, etc.
  • Sweetening citrus juices


Patent Status: 

Patent Pending PCT/US2020/025192

Licensing Rights Available

Full licensing rights

Inventors: Mikhai Redko, Christopher Saffron (https://www.egr.msu.edu/people/profile/saffron), James Jackson

Tech ID: TEC2018-0147

CONTACT  Tom Herlache, herlache@msu.edu, 517-884-1656



Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University