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Chem Senses. 2003 Jan;28(1):11-23.

Oral shear stress predicts flavour perception in viscous solutions.

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  • 1Samworth Flavour Laboratory, Division of Food Sciences, The University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, UK.


The perception of sweetness and flavour were studied in viscous solutions containing 50 g/l sucrose, 100 p.p.m. iso-amyl acetate and varying concentrations of three hydrocolloid thickeners (guar gum, lambda-carrageenan and hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose). Zero-shear viscosity of the samples ranged from 1 to 5000 mPas. Perception of both sweetness and aroma was suppressed at thickener concentrations above c* (coil overlap concentration, the point at which there is an abrupt increase in solution viscosity as thickener concentration is increased). Sensory data for the three hydrocolloids was only loosely correlated with their concentration relative to c* (c/c* ratio), particularly above c*. However, when perceptual data were plotted against the Kokini oral shear stress (tau), calculated from rheological measurements, data for the three hydrocolloids aligned to form a master-curve, enabling the prediction of flavour intensity in such systems. The fact that oral shear stress can be used to model sweetness and aroma perception supports the hypothesis that somatosensory tactile stimuli can interact with taste and aroma signals to modulate their perception.

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