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Chem Senses. 2006 Sep;31(7):689-97. Epub 2006 Jul 13.

Evaluation of copper speciation and water quality factors that affect aqueous copper tasting response.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, 24061-0246, USA.


This study determined taste thresholds for copper as its speciation was varied among free cupric ion, complexed cupric ion, and precipitated cupric particles. The impact of copper chemistry on taste is important as copper is added to many beverages and can be present in drinking water as a natural mineral or due to corrosion of copper plumbing. A one-of-five test was used to define thresholds with solutions containing 0.025-8 mg/l Cu (from copper sulfate) in distilled or mineralized water of varying pH. The mineralized water was designed to mimic the composition of a typical tap water. Group thresholds for copper in either distilled-deionized water or mineralized water were not significantly different and ranged from 0.4 to 0.8 mg/l Cu. A difference from control test was used to assess the impact of soluble and particulate copper on taste. Soluble copper species, including free cupric ion and complexed copper species, were readily tasted, while particulate copper was poorly tasted.

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