April 26, 2016

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | A Response

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In response to “A hyperbolic article.”

To the Editor:

I really appreciate your [Bhatterjee’s] time and effort in going over my Sun article and my original research article published in food chemistry.

Let’s go over your concerns one by one:

Your first concern is regarding my statements being self-glorifying. I believe that I earned the admiration, honor and praise from the people of the food science community that includes members of my graduate committee, fellow food scientists and students for my work and I was only trying to express my joy. Your second concern is regarding my premature confidence. I would like to stress that my article title itself expresses uncertainty over stevia becoming the sweetener of the 21st century. Moreover, through my last statement I’m expressing the uncertainty over the commercial viability of my own original research. However, I am indeed optimistic given the scientific evidence and understanding about the subject that our research has tremendous potential to get commercialized and it should not be mistaken as an attempt to self-glorify my own work. I believe that optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. You claimed in the letter to the editor that I tried to take the credit away from my co-authors that includes my graduate committee members. I would suggest you to re-read my article’s last paragraph. I have quite clearly stated “Nearing the completion of my master’s program in the spring of 2015 I along with my professors proved that stevia could be ridden of its bitterness while retaining its natural sweetness.” You also believe that the long introduction about saccharin is unrelated to the point at hand. Well, I think the whole idea of my article was to question whether stevia has the potential to be the sweetener of the 21st century. Saccharin being one of the prominent artificial sweetener and an alternative to stevia deserves a mention, especially considering that it is still widely popular. I must admit that I also have few concerns regarding your letter to the editor. Let’s quickly review them:

You mentioned that my confident proclamations led you to search for my research article in ‘Nature’ and ‘Science’ and only when your search proved futile you found it in the pages of ‘Food Chemistry.’ In my opinion your statement implicitly conveys that publishing in ‘Food Chemistry’ is not as big of an accomplishment as that of publishing in ‘Nature’ or ‘Science.’ I want you to ask yourself a simple question: Is success defined by publishing in journals such as ‘Nature’ and ‘Science’?

How did you infer that my statement ‘stevia could be ridden of its bitterness while retaining its sweetness’ means that ‘a chemical reaction can be performed…? In my opinion you are acknowledging that my technical paper describes an attempt to selectively present the sweetness of stevia to the taste buds while masking the bitterness, which I believe indicates that through such approach stevia could be ridden of its bitterness while retaining its sweetness and that’s exactly what I was trying to convey.

I hope I was able to address your concerns and I deeply appreciate your enthusiasm and eagerness to learn more about the subject.

Thank you!

Samriddh Mudgal M.S.’15

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