Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Food Peptides Activate Bitter Taste Receptors

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Food Peptides Activate Bitter Taste Receptors

Article excerpt

Researchers from the Monell Chemical Sense Center in Philadelphia and from Tokyo University of Agriculture have used a novel molecular method to identify chemical compounds from common foods that activate human bitter taste receptors. The findings provide a practical means of manipulating food flavor in general and bitter taste in particular.

Senior author Luquan Huang, Ph.D., a molecular biologist at Monell, explained:

"Identification of bitter taste compounds and their corresponding receptors opens doors to screening for specific bitter receptor inhibitors. Such inhibitors can be used to suppress unpleasantness and thereby increase palatability and acceptance of health-promoting bitter foods, such as green vegetables or soy products."

Although a little bitterness is often considered a desirable component of a food's flavor, extensive bitterness can limit food acceptance.

About 25 different human bitter receptors have been identified from human genome sequences. However, only a few of these bitter receptors can be activated by known chemical compounds. The remainders are "orphan receptors," meaning that the compounds that bind to and activate them have not been identified. …

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