Previous studies demonstrate humans can detect fatty acids via specialized sensors on the tongue, such as the CD36 receptor. Genetic variation at the common single nucleotide polymorphism rs1761667 of CD36 has been shown to differentially impact the perception of fatty acids, but comparative data among different ethnic groups are lacking. In a small cohort of Caucasian and East Asian young adults, we investigated if: (1) participants could detect oleic acid (C18:1) added to safflower oil emulsions at a constant ratio of 3% (w/v); (2) supplementation of oleic acid to safflower oil emulsions enhanced perception of fattiness and creaminess; and (3) variation at rs1761667 influenced oleic acid detection and fat taste perception. In a 3-alternate forced choice test, 62% of participants detected 2.9 ± 0.7 mM oleic acid (or 0.08% w/v) in a 2.8% safflower oil emulsion. Supplementation of oleic acid did not enhance fattiness and creaminess perception for the cohort as a whole, though East Asians carrying the GG genotype perceived more overall fattiness and creaminess than their AA genotype counterparts (P < 0.001). No differences were observed for the Caucasians. These preliminary findings indicate that free oleic acid can be detected in an oil-in-water emulsion at concentrations found in commercial oils, but it does not increase fattiness or creaminess perception. Additionally, variation at rs1761667 may have ethnic-specific effects on fat taste perception.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science