A complex relationship among chemical concentration, detection threshold, and suprathreshold intensity of bitter compounds.
ABSTRACT Detection thresholds and psychophysical curves were established for caffeine, quinine-HCl (QHCl), and propylthiouracil (PROP) in a sample of 33 subjects (28 female mean age 24 +/- 4). The mean detection threshold (+/-standard error) for caffeine, QHCl, and PROP was 1.2 +/- 0.12, 0.0083 +/- 0.001, and 0.088 +/- 0.07 mM, respectively. Pearson product-moment analysis revealed no significant correlations between detection thresholds of the compounds. Psychophysical curves were constructed for each bitter compound over 6 concentrations. There were significant correlations between incremental points of the individual psychophysical curves for QHCl and PROP. Regarding caffeine, there was a specific concentration (6 mM) below and above which the incremental steps in bitterness were correlated. Between compounds, analysis of psychophysical curves revealed no correlations with PROP, but there were significant correlations between the bitterness of caffeine and QHCl at higher concentrations on the psychophysical curve (P<0.05). Correlation analysis of detection threshold and suprathreshold intensity within a compound revealed a significant correlation between PROP threshold and suprathreshold intensity (r=0.46-0.4, P<0.05), a significant negative correlation for QHCl (r=-0.33 to -0.4, P<0.05), and no correlation for caffeine. The results suggest a complex relationship between chemical concentration, detection threshold, and suprathreshold intensity.
SourceAvailable from: Emma Louise Feeney[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The sense of taste is often referred to as a 'nutritional gatekeeper', thought to have evolved to indicate energy sources and prevent ingestion of potential toxins. Fungiform papillae are structures on the anterior tongue in which taste buds are situated. They are concentrated at the tongue's tip and they can provide a useful estimate of overall taste bud density for taste research. Some reports suggest taste perception may differ subtly across tongue regions, irrespective of FP number. Other data show an association between taste intensity perception for the bitter compound 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) and FP density. However, contradictions exist in the literature, with more recent, larger studies suggesting little or no association between FP number and perceived taste intensity. Much research has examined the relation between FP density and PROP perception, while other tastes have been less thoroughly studied. Here, in a cohort of mainly Caucasian individuals, aged 18-45, recruited from the campus of a large rural university, we examined regional and whole-mouth taste intensities, and FP density using an updated method of a digital still photography method first described in 2005. We found regional differences in suprathreshold intensity. Although all taste sensations were experienced all over the tongue, once again disproving the mythical tongue map, we also observed bitter and umami taste perception to be significantly greater on the posterior tongue than on the anterior tongue. In contrast, there were no regional differences observed for sweet, salty or sour tastes. The relation of FP density to whole-mouth intensity of 6-n-propylthiouracil, and to the intensity of saltiness of NaCl, sweetness from sucrose or from Acesulfame-K, bitterness of quinine, or burning from capsaicin delivered to different regions of the tongue are also discussed.Chemosensory Perception 12/2014; 7(3-4):147-157. DOI:10.1007/s12078-014-9166-3 · 1.37 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Taste is the chemical sense responsible for the detection of non-volatile chemicals in potential foods. For fat to be considered as one of the taste primaries in humans, certain criteria must be met including class of affective stimuli, receptors specific for the class of stimuli on taste bud cells (TBC), afferent fibres from TBC to taste-processing regions of the brain, perception independent of other taste qualities and downstream physiological effects. The breakdown products of the macronutrients carbohydrates (sugars) and proteins (amino acids) are responsible for the activation of sweet and umami tastes, respectively. Following the same logic, the breakdown products of fat being fatty acids are the likely class of stimuli for fat taste. Indeed, psychophysical studies have confirmed that fatty acids of varying chain length and saturation are orally detectable by humans. The most likely fatty acid receptor candidates located on TBC are CD36 and G protein-coupled receptor 120. Once the receptors are activated by fatty acids, a series of transduction events occurs causing the release of neurotransmitters towards afferent fibres signalling the brain. Whether fatty acids elicit any direct perception independent of other taste qualities is still open to debate with only poorly defined perceptions for fatty acids reported. Others suggest that the fatty acid taste component is at detection threshold only and any perceptions are associated with either aroma or chemesthesis. It has also been established that oral exposure to fat via sham feeding stimulates increases in blood TAG concentrations in humans. Therefore, overall, with the exception of an independent perception, there is consistent emerging evidence that fat is the sixth taste primary. The implications of fatty acid taste go further into health and obesity research, with the gustatory detection of fats and their contributions to energy and fat intake receiving increasing attention. There appears to be a coordinated bodily response to fatty acids throughout the alimentary canal; those who are insensitive orally are also insensitive in the gastrointestinal tract and overconsume fatty food and energy. The likely mechanism linking fatty acid taste insensitivity with overweight and obesity is development of satiety after consumption of fatty foods.
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ABSTRACT: Sweeteners are often added to liquid formulations of drugs but whether they merely make them better tasting or actually reduce the perception of bitterness remains unknown. In a group of children and adults, we determined whether adding sucrose to urea, caffeine, denatonium benzoate, propylthiouracil (PROP), and quinine would reduce their bitterness using a forced-choice method of paired comparisons. To better understand individual differences, adults also rated each solution using a more complex test (general Labeled Magnitude Scale [gLMS]) and were genotyped for the sweet taste receptor gene TAS1R3 and the bitter receptor TAS2R38. Sucrose suppressed the bitterness of each agent in children and adults. In adults, sucrose was effective in reducing the bitterness ratings from moderate to weak for all compounds tested, but those with the sensitive form of the sweet receptor reported greater reduction for caffeine and quinine. For PROP, sucrose was most effective for those who were genetically the most sensitive, although this did not attain statistical significance. Not only is the paired comparison method a valid tool to study how sucrose improves the taste of pediatric medicines among children but knowledge gleaned from basic research in bitter taste and how to alleviate it remains an important public health priority.Chemical Senses 11/2014; 40(1). DOI:10.1093/chemse/bju053 · 3.28 Impact Factor