Researchers from the Monell Center and 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, published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, provide a practical means to manipulate food flavor in general and bitter taste in particular.
“Identification of bitter taste compounds and their corresponding receptors opens doors to screening for specific bitter receptor inhibitors,” said senior author Liquan Huang, PhD, a molecular biologist at Monell. “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.”
While 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. Consequently, it is unclear how these orphan receptors contribute to bitter taste perception.
Huang and his collaborators ‘deorphanized’ several bitter receptors by demonstrating that peptides from fermented foods can specifically stimulate human bitter taste receptors expressed in a cell culture system.
Fermented foods, such as cheese or miso, are characterized by bitter off-tastes. These foods also contain abundant quantities of peptides, which are short chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.
The results reveal the molecular identities of chemical food components responsible for the bitterness of fermented foods and demonstrate that bitter-tasting peptides are detected by human bitter receptors in an analogous manner to other bitter compounds.
“Information on how food constituents interact with receptors is needed to design and identify inhibitors and enhancers that can be targeted towards specific bitter compounds,” says Huang. “Our findings may help make health-promoting bitter foods such as broccoli more palatable for children and adults.”
Leslie Stein | EurekAlert!
Nanocages in the lab and in the computer: how DNA-based dendrimers transport nanoparticles
19.10.2018 | University of Vienna
Less animal experiments on the horizon: Multi-organ chip awarded
19.10.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.
Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...
Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles
Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...
When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.
We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...
Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...
Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...
17.10.2018 | Event News
16.10.2018 | Event News
02.10.2018 | Event News
19.10.2018 | Life Sciences
19.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
19.10.2018 | Trade Fair News