Bitter taste of saccharin and acesulfame-K

Chem Senses. 2002 Jan;27(1):31-8. doi: 10.1093/chemse/27.1.31.


The relationships among suprathreshold taste responses to acesulfame-K, Na-saccharin and 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) were examined in two studies. In the first study, the labeled magnitude scale was used with the high anchor labeled as 'strongest imaginable oral sensation' and in the second study, it was labeled as 'strongest imaginable sensation of any kind'. Results from the two procedures were similar. Individual differences among 65 subjects were seen in bitter responses to acesulfame-K and saccharin. Bitter responses to acesulfame-K ands accharin were positively correlated, but showed no significant relationship with responses to PROP bitterness or with PROP taster groups. Saccharin and acesulfame-K may share a common mechanism for bitter taste reception and transduction, one that varies across individuals and is different from mechanisms mediating bitter responses to PROP. Changing the instructions of the labeled magnitude scale induced a context effect. Ratings of sweetness referenced to the 'strongest imaginable sensationof any kind' were lower than ratings referenced to just oral sensations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Perception / physiology
  • Propylthiouracil / standards
  • Reference Standards
  • Saccharin*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Threshold
  • Thiazines*


  • Thiazines
  • Propylthiouracil
  • Saccharin
  • acetosulfame