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Physiol Behav. 1991 Aug;50(2):389-92.

Does starch taste like Polycose?

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Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308.


Rats are capable of tasting or detecting maltooligosaccharides (e.g., Polycose) and starch in water, two substances that are bland to humans. Because both substances are glucose polymers, it has been suggested that they may be detected by the same mechanism. The present experiments examined whether rats conditioned to avoid one of these substances also avoid the other. Rats were injected with lithium chloride after being allowed to drink a 3% corn starch suspension. These rats subsequently avoided corn, potato, rice, and waxy maize (high-amylopectin) starch but did not avoid 0.1-3% Polycose Rats treated with lithium chloride after ingesting 3% Polycose avoided 3% and 0.5% Polycose, but they did not avoid 3% corn starch, 6% corn starch, or 3% waxy maize starch. These results indicate that rats can discriminate between starch and Polycose (maltooligosaccharides). It therefore seems likely that Polycose and starch have different sensory qualities.

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