Quantification of suppression of bitterness using an electronic tongue

J Pharm Sci. 2001 Dec;90(12):2042-8. doi: 10.1002/jps.1155.


Phospholipids, such as phosphatidic acid, suppress bitter taste without affecting other taste qualities. In the present study, we detected and quantified this suppression effect with an electronic tongue whose transducer is composed of several kinds of lipid/polymer membranes with different characteristics. We measured a phospholipid cocktail and various kinds of taste substances with five basic taste qualities. The responses to quinine hydrochloride and L-tryptophan, which have a bitter taste, were reduced as the phospholipid concentration was increased, and the responses to the other taste substances were not affected by the phospholipids, as with the human sensation test. Furthermore, the change of bitter intensity caused by phospholipid was quantified by principal component analysis and the tau scale, which expresses the relationship between taste intensity and taste substance concentration. The results are compared with those of the human sensory test and discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Electronics / instrumentation*
  • Electronics / methods
  • Humans
  • Phospholipids / pharmacology
  • Quinine / analysis
  • Taste Threshold / drug effects
  • Taste Threshold / physiology
  • Taste* / drug effects
  • Taste* / physiology
  • Tongue* / physiology
  • Tryptophan / analysis


  • Phospholipids
  • Tryptophan
  • Quinine