Food Studies features the voices of volunteer student bloggers from a variety of different food- and agriculture-related programs at universities around the world. You can explore the full series here.
Imagine a taste test that is based on genetics — on a person’s genotype — and how the results of that test could confirm or explain one’s taste perception, food choices, dietary behavior, or body weight. Well, little circles of filter paper embedded with 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) can actually do just that.
PROP is a compound that for people with the TAS2R38 genotype tastes extremely bitter whereas for people who have a differing genotype, the compound goes unnoticed. As shown on a recent episode of Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, you can tell immediately who is genetically programmed to taste it and who is not. Those who are sensitive to the compound, classified as super-tasters — a term initially coined by Dr. Linda Bartoshuk — are absolutely disgusted by the overwhelmingly bitter flavor while people who are not sensitive to it, non-tasters, just taste the filter paper. Statistically, about 25 percent... Read more