With these PTC taste strips you can reliably identify tasters and non-tasters, the strips are ideal for research studies and for demonstrations in the classroom. The strips are made of paper and impregnated with the taste Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) which can be described as a bitter taste. A considerable number of people are PTC tasters or non-tasters, or someone who can taste this taste is genetically determined by a dominant gene. The PTC strips are therefore often used as a genetic test. Whether you experience phenylthiocarbamide as bitter or not is determined by the so-called receptors or protein receivers.
One package (tube) consists of 100 PTC taste strips. The shelf life of the strips is 18 months after production. The production date of the taste strips can be found on every packaging.
Use of PTC taste strips
- Use 1 taste strip per test person at a time
- Remove the taste strip from the tube, preferably with tweezers. Tweezers will not be supplied as standard, but you can purchase them separately via our webshop.
- Place the strip in the middle on the tongue, the test person may close the mouth and move the tongue
- Ask the test person whether they experience a bitter taste or not
- The taste strips are for single use, throw them away after use
- It is advisable not to drink or eat in advance (except for water)
- You can also use blank, control strips
The abbreviation PTC stands for the organic compound Phenylthiocarbamide which is experienced as either very bitter tasting or tasteless. Whether someone can taste this taste is genetically determined by a dominant gene. It is therefore not surprising that the PTC taste strips are used as a genetic test in studies. Research has shown that a considerable number of people can taste PTC, around 70% of all people, but the difference between population groups is large. If we look at native residents of New Guinea or Australian Aboriginals, for example, this is only 58%. An opposite are the original inhabitants of the Americas of which up to 98% taste PTC. There is also a connection between non-smokers and people who are not used to drinking coffee or tea who have a higher than average chance of being able to taste PTC.
PTC Taste Test Paper is perfectly safe to use. Any possible toxicity of PTC would be in grams per kilogram of body weight, which is millions of times greater than anything which would be found in our taste test strips. Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) is present at only 20 micrograms per strip. At this level, the compound is negligible and harmless.
History of PTC
As is often the case with scientific discoveries, the genetic basis of PTC has also been discovered by accident. Chemist Arthur Fox who worked at DuPont released a cloud of fine powdered PTC where a colleague complained about a bitter taste while Dr. Fox (who was closer to the escaped PTC) did not taste anything himself. Fox then went on to test the taste perception of PTC on friends and acquaintances, thereby laying the foundation for future genetics studies. The genetic correlation was so clear that being able to use PTC before DNA could be used for it was used as a paternity test.
PTC or PROP taste strips
Many studies have shown a relationship between dietary habits and PTC-like compounds. Many of these studies used 6-propyl-2-thiouracil (PROP), a PTC-related but less toxic compound. We also have the PROP taste strips available.