Taste Lab Experiment Strips

Supertaster test strips for genetics labs, food & drink testing or party fun. PTC, Sodium Benzoate, Thiourea & Blank-Control Test Strips.

Taste test strips are mainly used in biology labs to help understand statistics as it relates to genetic variability. This information can be used in a very different & interesting way.

When people are asked to group themselves by perceived common values they do so by age, sex, race, etc. Since the genes for tasting follow a normal distribution across human populations, if you now group people by those results you will end up with a completely different mix that crosses all the other barriers. It's a great way to show that people have much more in common with each other than they thought & a greater appreciation for our diversity as a species.

What is a supertaster?

A supertaster senses flavors more strongly than the averge person. They have many more taste buds and are particularly sensitive to bitter foods such as broccoli, spinach, coffee, beer, and chocolate. This characteristic is inherited in roughly 25% of the population, more often in women. Flavors we taste are broadly grouped as sweet, salty, bitter, sour & umami. Use Indigo™ taste test paper strips in your supertaster quiz and find out if you, your family or friends have the supertaster gene.

The reason for our evolving a supertasting ability is unclear but it is thought to be related to recognizing potentially toxic plant alkaloids since it is estimated that this trait is in the ~75% of people who can taste PTC.

See the Scientific American article: Super-Tasting Science: Find Out If You're a "Supertaster"!. It even includes instructions on how you can compare the number of taste buds on your tongue to that of your friends.
Displaying 1 to 5 (of 5 products)
Taste Test Strip Bundle

Taste Test Strip Bundle

SKU: 33814-TASTE
$8.95USD or lower Each
100 PTC Supertaster Strips

100 PTC Supertaster Strips

SKU: 33814-PTC
$2.95USD or lower Each
100 Na Benzoate Taste Strips

100 Na Benzoate Taste Strips

SKU: 33814-NaB
$2.95USD or lower Each
100 Thiourea Taste Strips

100 Thiourea Taste Strips

SKU: 33814-TU
$2.95USD or lower Each
100 Control Paper Test Strips

100 Control Paper Test Strips

SKU: 33814-Ctl
$1.75USD or lower Each
More Information
This review from a happy customer:

"I've always been curious about using these taste test strips and I just wanted some for myself. Packs on Amazon for a few tests were the same cost or more than to buy from Indigo, but Indigo arrived just as fast as Amazon prime normally does! I was very happy with the purchase and grateful to be able to not have to worry about counterfeit strips on Amazon and support a good business. These were great!"

Indigo Taste Test Blogs

  1. PTC Taste Test Strips: Let's Talk Science Outreach
  2. Can Supertaster Testing Reduce Food Waste?
  3. Taste Testing with PTC (Phenylthiocarbamide)

Other Taste & Smell Material

  1. Super-Tasters and Non-Tasters: Is it Better to Be Average? Smell & taste together produce what we perceive as flavor.
  2. Taste Molecules - The Molecular Basis of Taste. From the Science of Cooking.
  3. The King of Fruits Needs a Deodorant. The Durian fruit has several stinky compounds: ethyl-2-methylbutanoate, 1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethane-1-thiol, ethionine, that can be displayed in our Model Builder. What would a supertaster experience?
  4. Indigo® Instruments 3D virtual organic molecule maker. Build models of molecules in the articles above.
Technical

The Myths of Human Genetics is an interesting read. It discusses topics that range from eye and hair color to dimples, attached earlobes & more.

The section PTC tasting: The myth, is one of the most detailed we have encountered and is instructive to anyone involved with teaching taste test genetics labs.

To quote the conclusion in brief: ""PTC tasting is largely determined by a single gene...(but) there are other genes or environmental factors that influence PTC tasting. As a result, there is a continuous range of PTC tasting, not absolute separation into tasters and non-tasters. PTC tasting would be a fascinating subject for an advanced genetics class, but it does not fit the one-gene, two-allele myth well enough to be used to demonstrate simple Mendelian genetics." 

Instructions/Safety

How to use:

  • Take a strip out of bottle
  • Stick out your tongue
  • Press it against your tongue
  • Record response

All test strips are white so to randomize your experiment, mark each type of strip with a unique color code. 2 Ink felt pens could be used to add stripes at one end such as: black/black, red/red, black/red, red/black. Another method (but we haven't tried ) would be to remove the strips & add some food dye to the vial. Put the strips back in & let them soak up the dye. Remove again & set them out to dry.