Perception of bitterness, sweetness and liking of different genotypes of lettuce

M. Chadwick, F. Gawthrop, Richard W Michelmore, C. Wagstaff, L. Methven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Lettuce is an important leafy vegetable, consumed across the world, containing bitter sesquiterpenoid lactone (SL) compounds that may negatively affect consumer acceptance and consumption. We assessed liking of samples with differing absolute abundance and different ratios of bitter:sweet compounds by analysing recombinant inbred lines (RILs) from an interspecific lettuce mapping population derived from a cross between a wild (L. serriola acc. UC96US23) and domesticated lettuce (L. sativa, cv. Salinas). We found that the ratio of bitter:sweet compounds was a key determinant of bitterness perception and liking. We were able to demonstrate that SLs, such as 8-deoxylactucin-15-sulphate, contribute most strongly to bitterness perception, whilst 15-p-hydroxylphenylacetyllactucin-8-sulphate does not contribute to bitter taste. Glucose was the sugar most highly correlated with sweetness perception. There is a genetic basis to the biochemical composition of lettuce. This information will be useful in lettuce breeding programmes in order to produce leaves with more favourable taste profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalFood Chemistry
StatePublished - Apr 15 2016


  • Bitter suppression
  • Bitterness
  • Lettuce
  • Sesquiterpenoid lactone
  • Sugar
  • Sweetness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science


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