Send to

Choose Destination
Chem Senses. 2001 Jan;26(1):85-9.

Determination of the taste threshold of copper in water.

Author information

Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Chile, Macul 5540, PO Box 138-11, Santiago, Chile.


Copper effects on human health represent a relevant issue in modern nutrition. One of the difficulties in assessing the early, acute effects of copper ingested via drinking water is that the taste of copper may influence the response and the capacity to taste copper in different waters is unknown. The purpose of the study was to determine the taste threshold of copper in different types of water, using soluble and insoluble salts (copper sulfate and copper chloride). Copper-containing solutions (range 1.0-8.0 mg/l Cu) were prepared in tap water, distilled deionized water and uncarbonated mineral water. Sixty-one healthy volunteers (17-50 years of age), with no previous training for sensory evaluation, participated in the study. A modified triangle test was used to define the taste threshold value. The threshold was defined as the lowest copper concentration detected by 50% of the subjects assessed. To evaluate the olfactory input in the threshold value obtained, 15 of 61 subjects underwent a second set of triangle tests with the nose open and clamped, using distilled water with copper sulfate at a concentration corresponding to the individual's threshold. The taste threshold in tap water was 2.6 mg/l Cu for both copper sulfate and copper chloride. The corresponding values for distilled deionized water were 2.4 and 2.5 mg/l Cu for copper sulfate and copper chloride, respectively. In uncarbonated mineral water the threshold values were slightly higher, 3.5 and 3.8 mg/l Cu for copper sulfate and for copper chloride, respectively, which are significantly higher than those observed in tap and distilled waters (P < 0.01, Kruskal-Wallis test). The taste threshold did not change significantly when the nose was clamped. In conclusion, the median values for copper taste threshold were low, ranging between 2.4 and 3.8 mg/l Cu, depending on the type of water.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center