Human cell-based taste perception – a bittersweet job for industry
Covering: 2000 to 2016
On the molecular level humans sense food by a variety of specialized tissues which express sensory receptors to handle nutritive value. In general, this means the interplay of gustatory, olfactory, trigeminal and haptic sensation is translated into perception and leads, in terms of taste, to descriptions like sweet, bitter, salty, sour and umami. Further perceptions include astringent, cool, hot, prickle, lingering, kokumi and fatty to name predominant characterizations. It is still not fully understood how this plethora of impressions can be perceived by quite a limited number of receptors obviously being the initial compilers to judge palatability. However, since the discovery of mammalian taste receptors (TASRs) almost 30 years ago the use of taste receptors in cell-based screening campaigns is advancing in industrial approaches. The article will highlight the impacts and the limits of cell-based guided identification of taste modulators for food applications with an emphasis on sweet, bitter and savory taste as well as implications emerging from natural products.