Bitter taste receptors

A team of scientists from the Philadelphia-based Monell Center and Tokyo University of Agriculture used a new molecular method to identify chemical compounds from common foods that activate human bitter taste receptors, proving 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," says 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," Huang adds. The findings, published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, explain how the researchers 'deorphanized' several bitter receptors by demonstrating that peptides from fermented foods can specifically stimulate human bitter taste receptors expressed in a cell culture system. “Findings may help make health-promoting bitter foods such as broccoli more palatable for children and adults," says Huang. That’s good news for former President George Bush, who banned broccoli from the White House, saying “I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.” He infuriated broccoli growers, who sent tons of the vegetable to the White House in a humorous protest. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications Monell  Japan Herald