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J Food Sci. 2012 Jun;77(6):S226-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02707.x. Epub 2012 May 14.

Optimizing the orosensory properties of model functional beverages: the influence of novel sweeteners, odorants, bitter blockers, and their mixtures on (+)-catechin.

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  • 1Dept of Biological Sciences, Brock Univ, St Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1, Canada.


The use of flavor-modifying strategies are important to improving the sensory profile of some excessively bitter and astringent functional ingredients, such as (+)-catechin (CAT). Two bitter blockers (ß-cyclodextrin [CYCLO], homoeriodictyol sodium salt [HED]), two sweeteners (sucrose [SUC], rebaudioside A [REB]), and two odorants (vanillin [VAN], black tea aroma [TEA]) were assessed for their efficacy at modifying the bitterness and astringency of CAT in model aqueous solutions. The intensity of oral sensations elicited by CAT was determined in duplicate in binary, ternary, and quaternary mixtures of these stimuli by a trained panel (n = 15) using a 15 cm visual analogue scale. Overall, bitterness and astringency were most effectively reduced by ternary solutions containing CYCLO + REB or CYCLO + SUC (68%, 60%, and 45%, 43% for bitterness and astringency, respectively). Odorants were not effective at modifying the bitterness or astringency of CAT. We conclude that the use of select bitter blockers and sweeteners may be of value in optimizing the flavor and acceptance of functional food and beverages fortified with phenolic compounds.


(+)-Catechin is a bitter-tasting plant-derived health-promoting phenolic compound of interest to functional food and beverage manufacturers. We investigated the efficacy of bitter blockers, plant-based sweeteners, and odorants in decreasing the bitterness and astringency elicited by (+)-catechin. Some of these additives, both alone and in combination, reduced bitterness and astringency, and may therefore assist in optimizing the flavor and consumer acceptance of some phenolic-based functional foods and beverages.

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