Acesulfame origin

Just curious as to the etymology of the word acesulfame, the artificial sweetener. I asked ChatGPT and it gave me this convincing, though I’m pretty sure completely wrong, series of answers:

“The name “acesulfame” comes from the components of the chemical structure of the sweetener. “Ace” stands for “acetone,” which is a solvent used in the synthesis of acesulfame. “Sulfam” is short for “sulfonamide,” which is a functional group containing a sulfur atom bonded to an amide group (-SO2NH2), and “k” is added at the end to make the name pronounceable. So, acesulfame is a combination of acetone and sulfonamide, which are the two key components in the molecule.”

then it corrected itself to say:

“The true etymology of acesulfame is actually derived from the name of the company that first developed it, Hoechst AG, and the French word for “sweetener,” “sucré” (pronounced soo-krey). The name “acesulfame” comes from the initials of the company (ACE) and the French word for sweetener (sulfame). So, it has nothing to do with acetone or sulfonamide.”

Thank you.

K is not added for pronunciation reasons - it’s the part that means “potassium”.

If you’re interested in the chemistry, this patent might help. However, the processes in that patent might not be the same ones by which it was discovered.

I’m not sure how the word was really formed though, other than the obvious part about the K.

The official-sounding French word for sweetener is édulcorant. Sucré means “sweet” in the sense that its literal meaning is “sugared”. “Sulfame” is not French as far as I know (other than being used as a chemistry word). The company where it was invented was Hoechst, which at the time was not known by any other names as far as I know. (It’s pretty hard to derive “ACE” from “Hoechst Aktiengesellschaft”, especially since the second word there is merely a generic one showing which type of corporation it was under German law.)

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