Science-- there's something for everyone

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A better bitter blocker


Most people do not care for bitter foods. About a quarter of people are ‘supertasters’ who are particularly sensitive to bitter tastes. Unfortunately, those people may find many nutritious foods such as leafy greens or tea unpalatable. Enter GIV3616, a bitter blocker or compound that blocks bitter taste receptors, presented by Ioana Ungureanu from the Givaudan Flavors Corporation at the 2011 National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

There are actually some 27 different varieties of bitter taste receptor. Ungureanu was previously responsible for the compound GIV3727 that specifically inhibited the taste receptors responsible for the bitter aftertaste of saccharin. GIV3616 is less specific and more powerful. It can also be readily dissolved into foods and beverages.

According to Ungureanu:

It works at levels on the order of parts per million and blocks flavors using 10 times less material than what was needed previously.

Apart from making vegetables more agreeable, bitter blockers like GIV3616 might help people swallow needed medication or help those with poor appetites improve their diets.