Sally Eldeghaidy1, Luca Marciani2, Francis McGlone3, Tracey Hollowood4, Joanne Hort4, Kay Head1, Andy Taylor4, Johanneke Busch5, Jason Stokes6, Robin Spiller2, Penny Gowland1, Susan Francis1
1SPMMRC, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK; 2WDDC, University of Nottingham, UK; 3Unilever R&D, Cheshire, UK; 4Division of Food Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK; 5Unilever Food and Health Research Institute, Vlaardingen, Netherlands; 6Unilever Corporate R&D, Colworth, UK
The cortical representation of fat is mapped against taster status to test the hypothesis that taster status is mediated by sensory responses. The BOLD response is shown to be highly correlated to taster status (super-tasters>medium-tasters>non-tasters) in somatosensory areas (SI, SII, mid- and posterior insula) and reward areas (amygdala and anterior cingulate) but not in the classical primary taste area (anterior insula), supporting the sensory basis of taster status. These results also show that the inter-subject variance in the BOLD response can be improved by selecting subjects with a particular taster status for group analysis, with super-tasters improving detection power.