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Distribution of sensory taste thresholds for phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) taste ability in North Indian Muslim populations

R Hussain
A Shah
M Afzal


The ability to taste Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), a bitter organic compound has been described as a bimodal autosomal trait in both genetic and anthropological studies. This study is based on the ability of a person to taste PTC. The present study reports the threshold distribution of PTC taste sensitivity among some Muslim populations of North India, as till now no detailed information is available. A survey was conducted among healthy individuals within the age range of 10–45 years who were randomly selected from among six populations viz; Syed, Sheikh, Pathan, Ansari, Qureshi and Saifi. The PTC tasting ability was measured using a serial dilution method of Harris and Kalmus. A bimodal distribution was observed from the graphs plotted for the PTC threshold distribution. The mean PTC threshold values (±SD) of the male and female individuals were calculated as 8.12± 0.21 and 8.39 ± 0.20, respectively. The threshold values among the six populations ranged from 7.71 to 8.81 among males, 7.44–9.04 among females and 7.86–8.91 as combined. The results found that females show a higher mean threshold value than males, though of no statistical significance. This type of study will provide brief information on the distribution of PTC sensory thresholds among some Muslim populations of North India. This study has some physiological relevance to highlight the adaptability of endogamous groups to behavioral traits in the same place.

Keywords: Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC); Bitter taste perception; Bimodal distribution; Serial dilution method; North Indian Muslims