Application of gymnemic acid (GA) on the tongue depresses the taste of sucrose in man. This effect, as indicated by electrophysiological responses, has been found to be absent in three nonhuman primate species. In the present behavioral study the effect of GA on taste responses in 22 primate species, with two subspecies, and 12 human subjects has been investigated. In all the nonhuman primates studied, including the Pongidae which are closely related to man, GA did not suppress the response to sucrose, only in man did GA have a depressing effect.
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The authors thank Director Dr. P.Weilenmann, Dr. C.R.Schmidt and the keepers K.Rathfelder, P.Oberhaensli, B.Schnyder and Miss T. Alder (all from the Zoological Garden, Zurich), and Miss K.Weiss and Miss E.Sonderegger (from the Institute of Anthropology, Zurich University) for their support and assistance in carrying out the experiments. This study was in part supported by NIH grant NS 17021.