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Chem Senses. 1998 Jun;23(3):343-9.

Comparison of the effects of concentration, pH and anion species on astringency and sourness of organic acids.

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  • 1Robert Mondavi Winery, Woodbridge, CA 95258, USA.


The separate effects of concentration, pH and anion species on intensity of sourness and astringency of organic acids were evaluated. Judges rated sourness and astringency intensity of lactic, malic, tartaric and citric acid solutions at three levels of constant pH varying in normality and at three levels of constant concentration varying in pH. To assess the comparative sourness and astringency of the organic acid anions of study, binary acid solutions matched in pH and titratable acidity were also rated. As pH was decreased in equinormal solutions, both sourness and astringency increased significantly (P < 0.001). By contrast, as the normality of the equi-pH solutions was increased, only sourness demonstrated significant increases (P < 0.001) while astringency remained constant or decreased slightly. At the lowest normality tested, all solutions were more astringent than sour (P < 0.05). Although lactic acid was found to be significantly more sour than citric acid (P < 0.05), no other sourness or astringency differences among the organic acid anions were noted. This study demonstrates for the first time that astringency elicited by acids is a function of pH and not concentration or anion species, and confirms that sourness is independently influenced by concentration, pH and anion species of the acid.

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