Quantitative evaluation of the bitterness of commercial medicines using a taste sensor

Takahiro Uchida, Yohko Miyanaga, Hiromi Tanaka, Koichi Wada, Seisuke Kurosaki, Toshimitsu Ohki, Makiko Yoshida, Kenji Matsuyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The bitterness of 11 commercial medicines was evaluated both by a multichannel taste sensor and in human gustatory sensation tests with 15 volunteers. For basic drugs with amino groups in the molecule, such as quinine, there was a comparatively strong relative response electric potential (mV) of channels 1 or 2, those containing negatively charged membranes and the bitterness determined by human gustatory sensation tests. The suppression of the bitterness of quinine by sucrose and aspartame could be quantified using the artificial taste sensor and the results concurred with those from gustatory sensation tests. The usefulness of the sensor was thus confirmed for this type of compound. Anionic drugs, such as diclofenac sodium or salicylic acid gave rise in a negative response electric potential in channels 5 or 6, those containing positively charged membrane, seemed to be useful information even though their tastes are being sour rather than bitter. For drugs with both an amino (cationic) group and carboxylic acid (anionic) group in the molecule, such as theophylline, caffeine, and metronidazole, the relative response electric potential (mV) of channels containing negatively charged membranes was not increased, even though bitterness was observed in human gustatory sensation tests. Therefore, a different design of membrane component is required for more general evaluation of the bitterness of various medicines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1843-1845
Number of pages3
JournalChemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Aspartame
  • Bitterness
  • Caffeine
  • Human gustatory sensation
  • Quinine
  • Sucrose
  • Taste sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Drug Discovery


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