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Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009;60 Suppl 2:35-45. doi: 10.1080/09637480802304499. Epub 2008 Nov 12.

Genetic variation in bitter taste and plasma markers of anti-oxidant status in college women.

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Department of Food Science, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-0231, USA.


Genetic taste sensitivity to the bitterness of 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) is a potential marker for food selection. Compared with non-tasters, PROP tasters, especially super-tasters, are less accepting of cruciferous and other green vegetables, bitter citrus, added fats and chili pepper. If super-tasters avoid these foods, it may be hypothesized that they would have lower plasma antioxidant concentrations. Ninety-three healthy, non-smoking college women who did not use vitamins/supplements were classified by PROP-taster status using the paper disk method. Each participant provided a fasting blood sample that was assayed for vitamin C, beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, lycopene, uric acid and total peroxyl-trapping antioxidant capacity. Plasma alpha-tocopherol was lower in super-tasters than in non-tasters (P<0.05), but no other indices differed among the groups. These findings suggest that PROP status does not associate with overall antioxidant status, but may be related to alpha-tocopherol intake derived principally from vegetable oils and green vegetables.

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