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Chem Senses. 2001 Sep;26(7):845-60.

Taste perception with age: generic or specific losses in threshold sensitivity to the five basic tastes?

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Unilever Research Vlaardingen, 3133 AT Vlaardingen.


Detection thresholds for NaCl, KCl, sucrose, aspartame, acetic acid, citric acid, caffeine, quinine HCl, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and inosine 5'-monophosphate (IMP) were assessed in 21 young (19-33 years) and 21 elderly (60-75 years) persons by taking the average of six ascending two-alternative forced choice tests. A significant overall effect was found for age, but not for gender. However, an interaction effect of age and gender was found. The older men were less sensitive than the young men and women for acetic acid, sucrose, citric acid, sodium and potassium chloride and IMP. To detect the compound dissolved in water they needed a 1.32 (aspartame) to 5.70 times (IMP) higher concentration than the younger subjects. A significant decline in thresholds with replication was shown. The age effect found could be attributed predominantly to a generic taste loss.

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