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A white crystalline powder, a product of coal tar, with remarkable sweetening properties (500 times sweeter tan sugar) but no food value. Discovered in the 1880"s by Dr. Constantin Fahlberg.
Evidently while he removed a shred of tobacco from his tongue on day, he found his fingers tasted extraordinarily sweet. He rushed back to his laboratory, examined the chemicals, and found what had produced the sweetness.
A similar accident happened when Michael Sveda discovered Sodium Cyclamate nearly fifty years later. See "Fahlberg, Dr. Constantin"; "Sveda, Michael"; "Sodium Cyclamate"; "Sugar"