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

Beverly J. Tepper, Taraja Z.A. Williams, John R. Burgess, Caryl J. Antalis, Richard D. Mattes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


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, β-carotene, α-tocopherol, lycopene, uric acid and total peroxyl-trapping antioxidant capacity. Plasma α-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 α-tocopherol intake derived principally from vegetable oils and green vegetables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science


  • 6-n-Propylthiouracil
  • Antioxidants
  • Plasma markers
  • Taste genetics
  • Total peroxyl-trapping antioxidant capacity assay

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