Amino Acids

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 2349–2358 | Cite as

Gustatory sensation of l- and d-amino acids in humans

  • Misako Kawai
  • Yuki Sekine-Hayakawa
  • Atsushi Okiyama
  • Yuzo Ninomiya
Original Article

Abstract

Amino acids are known to elicit complex taste, but most human psychophysical studies on the taste of amino acids have focused on a single basic taste, such as umami (savory) taste, sweetness, or bitterness. In this study, we addressed the potential relationship between the structure and the taste properties of amino acids by measuring the human gustatory intensity and quality in response to aqueous solutions of proteogenic amino acids in comparison to d-enantiomers. Trained subjects tasted aqueous solution of each amino acid and evaluated the intensities of total taste and each basic taste using a category-ratio scale. Each basic taste of amino acids showed the dependency on its hydrophobicity, size, charge, functional groups on the side chain, and chirality of the alpha carbon. In addition, the overall taste of amino acid was found to be the combination of basic tastes according to the partial structure. For example, hydrophilic non-charged middle-sized amino acids elicited sweetness, and l-enantiomeric hydrophilic middle-sized structure was necessary for umami taste. For example, l-serine had mainly sweet and minor umami taste, and d-serine was sweet. We further applied Stevens’ psychophysical function to relate the total-taste intensity and the concentration, and found that the slope values depended on the major quality of taste (e.g., bitter large, sour small).

Keywords

Amino acid Taste Human psychophysics 

References

  1. Araneda RC, Kini AD, Firestein S (2000) The molecular receptive range of an odorant receptor. Nat Neurosci 3:1248–1255CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Birch GG, Kemp SE (1989) Apparent specific volumes and tastes of amino acids. Chem Senses 14:249–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chandrashekar J, Mueller KL, Hoon MA, Adler E, Feng L, Guo W, Zuker CS, Ryba NJ (2000) T2Rs function as bitter taste receptors. Cell 100:703–711CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Chandrashekar J, Kuhn C, Oka Y, Yarmolinsky DA, Hummler E, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS (2010) The cells and peripheral representation of sodium taste in mice. Nature 464:297–301CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Deutsch EW, Hansch C (1966) Dependence of relative sweetness on hydrophobic bonding. Nature 211:75CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Green BG, Schaffer GS, Glimore MM (1993) Derivation and evaluation of a semantic scale of oral sensation magnitude with apparent ratio properties. Chem Senses 18:683–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Green BG, Dalton P, Cowart B, Shaffer G, Rankin K, Higgins J (1996) Evaluating the ‘Labeled Magnitude Scale’ for measuring sensations of taste and smell. Chem Senses 21:323–334CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Huang AL, Chen X, Hoon MA, Chandrashekar J, Guo W, Tränkner D, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS (2006) The cells and logic for mammalian sour taste detection. Nature 442:934–938CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Ikeda K (1909) New seasonings. J Tokyo Chem Soc 30:820–836 [in Japanese]Google Scholar
  10. Jang H-J, Kokrashvili Z, Theodorakis MJ, Carlson OD, Kim B-J, Zhou J, Kim HH, Xu X, Chan SL, Juhaszova M, Bernier M, Mosinger M, Margolskee RF, Egan JM (2007) Gut-expressed gustducin and taste receptors regulate secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:15069–15074CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Kawai M, Okiyama A, Ueda Y (2002) Taste enhancements between various amino acids and IMP. Chem Senses 27:739–745CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Kroeze JH, Bartoshuk LM (1985) Bitterness suppression as revealed by split-tongue taste stimulation in humans. Physiol Behav 35:779–783CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Kuninaka A (1960) Studies on taste of ribonucleic acid derivatives. J Agric Chem Soc Jpn 34:487–492 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  14. Li X, Staszewski L, Xu H, Durick K, Zoller M, Adler E (2002) Human receptors for sweet and umami taste. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:4692–4696CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Malnic B, Hirono J, Sato T, Buck LB (1999) Combinatorial receptor codes for odors. Cell 96:713–723CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Nelson G, Hoon MA, Chandrashekar J, Zhang Y, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS (2001) Mammalian sweet taste receptors. Cell 106:381–390CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Nelson G, Chandrashekar J, Hoon MA, Feng L, Zhao G, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS (2002) An amino-acid taste receptor. Nature 416:199–202CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Ninomiya Y, Funakoshi M (1989) Peripheral neural basis for behavioural discrimination between glutamate and the four basic taste substances in mice. Comp Biochem Physiol A Comp Physiol 92:371–376CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Ninomiya T, Ikeda S, Yamaguchi S, Yoshikawa T (1966) Studies on the taste of various amino acids. Rep. 7th Sensory evaluation symposium, JUSE, pp 109–123 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  20. Ohara I, Otsuka S, Yugari Y (1988) Cephalic phase response of pancreatic exocrine secretion in conscious dogs. Am J Physiol 254:G424–G428PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Schiffman SS, Clark TB 3rd (1980) Magnitude estimates of amino acids for young and elderly subjects. Neurobiol Aging 1:81–91CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Schiffman SS, Dackis C (1975) Taste of nutrients: amino acids, vitamins, and fatty acids. Percept Psychophys 17:140–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schiffman SS, Sennewald K, Gagnon J (1981) Comparison of taste qualities and thresholds of d- and l-amino acids. Physiol Behav 27:51–59CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Schiffman SS, Clark TB 3rd, Gagnon J (1982) Influence of chirality of amino acids on the growth of perceived taste intensity with concentration. Physiol Behav 28:457–465CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Shallenberger RS, Acree TE, Lee CY (1969) Sweet taste of d and l-sugars and amino-acids and the steric nature of their chemo-receptor site. Nature 221:555–556CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Solms J, Vuataz L, Egli RH (1965) The taste of l- and d-amino acids. Experientia 21:692–694CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Yamaguchi S (1967) The synergistic taste effect of monosodium glutamate and disodium 5′-inosinate. J Food Sci 32:473–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Yamaguchi S (1987) Fundamental properties of umami in human taste sensation. In: Kawamura Y, Kare MR (eds) Umami: a basic taste. Marcel Dekker Inc, NY, pp 41–73Google Scholar
  29. Yamaguchi S, Kimizuka A (1979) Psychometric studies on the taste of monosodium glutamate. In: Filer LJ Jr., Garattini S, Kare MR, Reynolds AW, Wurtman RJ (ed) Glutamic acid: advances in Biochemistry and Physiology. Raven Press, NY, pp 35–54Google Scholar
  30. Yamaguchi S, Yoshikawa T, Ikeda S, Ninomiya T (1971) Measurement of the relative taste intensity of some l-α-amino acids and 5′-nucleotides. J Food Sci 36:846–849CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Yoshida M, Saito S (1969) Multidimensional scaling of taste of amino acids. Jpn Psychol Res 11:149–166Google Scholar
  32. Zhang F, Klebansky B, Fine RM, Xu H, Pronin A, Liu H, Tachdjian C, Li X (2008) Molecular mechanism for the umami taste synergism. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:20930–20934CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Zhao GQ, Zhang Y, Hoon MA, Chandrashekar J, Erlenbach I, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS (2003) The receptors for mammalian sweet and umami taste. Cell 115:255–266CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Misako Kawai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuki Sekine-Hayakawa
    • 2
  • Atsushi Okiyama
    • 3
  • Yuzo Ninomiya
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Oral Neuroscience, Graduate School of Dental SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Institute for InnovationAjinomoto Co., Inc.KawasakiJapan
  3. 3.Quality Assurance & External Scientific AffairsAjinomoto Co., Inc.TokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations