Oral chemosensation can vary greatly across individuals, both in terms of the lowest concentration that can be detected (threshold) and in the magnitude of perceived intensity for stimuli at higher concentrations (suprathreshold response). Individuals who experience greater taste intensity are often termed supertasters, and this phenotype has typically been measured via the suprathreshold bitterness of the tastant propylthiouracil (PROP). Notably, supertasting extends beyond bitterness and other tastants to include oral somatosensation and retronasal olfaction, and it may also include finer acuity as well. Here, we describe the evolution of the supertasting concept over the last 20. years, and summarize the current state of the field. Alternative phenotyping approaches that are not dependent on PROP are reviewed, and the molecular genetics of broadly tuned heightened taste and orosensory response are discussed. We conclude by initiating a conversation on nomenclature as we look toward the next 20. years of chemosensory research.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience