Bitter taste test

The bitter taste test essentially identifies a person’s individual sensitivity to bitter tasting foods

Sensitivity to bitter tastes is believed to be an evolutionary phenotype that arose through natural selection in order to prevent us from consuming toxic plants. However, it can cause a reaction to common foods such as sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, that contain bitter-tasting compounds called glucosinolates.

First noticed in 1931 by Arthur Fox, bitterness in food is easier to detect for some people than others. He discovered this when he and a colleague accidentally inhaled phenylthiocarbamide (PTC). His colleague remarked on its bitter taste, whereas he tasted nothing. This compound, along with the less toxic 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP), is currently used to induce the bitter taste response via a taste test strip in order to determine sensitivity.


It is the genetic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in the TAS2R38 gene at Chromosome 7 allow us to discover if we are likely to be more sensitive to bitter tastes

The Outlook test allows us to identify a person’s sensitivity to bitter tastes using just a simple saliva test and removes the need to undertake the unpleasant task of inducing the response via a taste test strip.

Those who are deemed to be more sensitive to bitter tastes are known as a 'taster', whereas those that do not carry these variants and are less able to detect the bitterness are known as 'non-tasters'.

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