Sensory Papillaeās Density not Linked with Ability to Taste Certain Kind of Bitter Components
For the past many years, researchers have linked supertasters' key feature of heightened sense of taste with the number of 'fungiform papillae' or sensory bumps on the tongue. But such is not the case, finds a new study.
With the help of 3,000 citizen scientists, researchers found there is no link between the number of papillae on a person's tongue and with the ability that if they can taste certain types of bitter compounds or not.
Nicole Garneau of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Colorado said there was a long-held belief that one can judge how perfect a person is in judging strong tastes like bitterness in vegetables and strong sensations like spice by looking bumps on his tongue.
"The commonly accepted theory has been that the more bumps you have, the more taste buds you have and therefore the more sensitive you are", affirmed Dr. Garneau. But their data was not able to replicate the long held assumption.
A supertaster is defined on the basis whether he is able to detect the presence of two-bitter tasting compounds, phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) and propylthiouracil (PROP). As per geneticists, this ability majorly depends on certain variations of gene called TAS2R38.
Researchers checked the number of sensory papillae on each tongue of volunteers and they were also assessed for their sensitivity to PROP. They were also analyzed on which kind of TAS2R38 gene they had inherited.
The study published in the journal Frontiers of Integrative Neuroscience found the number of sensory papillae on a person's tongue is no way to judge whether or not he could taste PROP.