Gaz of Khunsar: The manna of persia

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Abstract

Gaz is one of the most popular traditional sweets in Iran. Although millions of people enjoy it, the vast majority is completely unaware that this confection is made with a sweetening agent, gaz of Khunsar, exuded by the last instar nymph of a small insect (Cyamophila astragalicola Gegechkori, Psyllidae) and collected from a spiny shrub (Astragalus adscendens Boiss. & Haussk., Leguminosae) which grows wild in western central Iran. For those who enjoy it, the pleasant flavor of gaz is sufficient in itself, but for scientists the story of this fructose-rich exudate is more interesting.

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