How is sensitivity to taste measured?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Taste sensitivity depends on the number of taste receptors on taste buds and the number of taste buds on the tongue. To measure this, scientists use a wafer that contains a drop of a chemical called 6-n-propylthiouracil, or PROP, which has a nasty bitter taste. Placing this on the human tongue can send a super-taster through the roof, while non-tasters just taste the paper.

Statistically, most people fall in the middle, while 25% are non-tasters and 25% super-tasters. You won't be able to get PROP without a prescription but you can do a non-scientific experiment at home using blue food coloring. Since taste buds won't stain you can see the bumps; 30 dots or more means you are a super-taster, less then 5, an under-taster.

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