Association between the number of fungiform papillae on the tip of the tongue and sensory taste perception in children
Background : To measure sensory taste perception in children with an accurate and reproducible method is challenging and objective measurement methods are scarce.
Objective : Aim was to characterize sensory taste perception, by measuring the number of fungiform papillae (FP) and to investigate whether the number of FP is associated with sensitivity for bitter taste and with taste preferences for sweet, salty, fatty or umami in children between 8 and 11 years of age.
Design : Number of FP was measured with a digital camera in 83 children in a German subsample of the IDEFICS study. Among those 56 children performed a taste threshold test for bitter and taste preference tests for sweet, salty, fatty and umami. The association between the number of FP and sensory taste perception was analysed.
Results : There is a tendency towards a lower number of FP in children with a higher fat preference (30 vs. 25 papillae, p=0.06). Results show no association between the number of FP and neither the bitter taste thresholds nor taste preferences for sweet, salty and umami.
Conclusion : Bitter taste threshold might be independent of the number of FP, while the perception of fat was associated with the number of FP.
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