Bitter taste perception

Bitter taste perceptionGenetic testing and bitter taste perception

There are 30 genes that are responsible for bitter taste perception, one of them being TAS2R32. Different variations of this gene affect ability to detect bitter compounds, like for example feniltiocarbamids and glucosinolates. About 25% of people lack ability to detect these compounds due to gene mutations. Are you like them? Maybe you don’t like broccoli, because it tastes too bitter? The cause is probably hiding in your genes. Furthermore, a connection between smokers and alcoholics and inability to detect bitter taste was clearly shown too.

More details about bitter taste perception

A good way of testing is case of tasting 6-N-propylthiouracl (PROP). To some people very low concentrations of PROP are very bitter, while others do not detect it or detection is very weak. In general, the data saying that 75% of all people taste PROP and the other 25% do not holds true. We do not find PROP in the natural environment; however, the ability to taste this substance is mostly in close correlation with tasting other related bitter substances which we can find in broccoli, cabbage, coffee, tonic water and some beers. An example of this compound are glucosinolates. In nature there are thousands of other substances with a bitter taste. People have around 30 genes, which encode receptors for bitter and each of these receptors recognise related substances. This is why not all bitter foods are the same as we are capable of differentiating from many types of bitter taste.

It is known that glucosinolates can be toxic. They have had an effect on the metabolism of iodine, which can lead to problems with the glandula thyroidea. This is why animals developed receptors for recognising these substances. Why it is then that so many people do not recognise glucosinolates? Non-tasters probably have the ability to recognise some other toxic substances, which brought them an evolutional advantage. Heterozygous individuals that have C variation on one chromosome and G variation on the other chromosome in this gene have thus double sensing ability.