Dynamics of texture and taste perception

markus stieger 90

Project leader: Dr Markus Stieger
Time frame: 2011 – 2015
Project code: TT001
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This project aims to uncover and validate the oral mechanisms involved in the temporal perception of texture and taste and to provide design rules for fat, salt and sugar reduction in foods. Factors which contribute to the temporal perception of texture and taste have been determined by establishing relationships between food properties, oral behaviour, oral coatings, food breakdown, tastant-macronutrient interactions and sensory perception.

The project demonstrated that sensory attributes are perceived in a specific order during oral processing and depend on both food structure and oral-processing behaviour. The project demonstrated that consumers with contrasting eating behaviours perceive the same product very differently. The perceptual differences between consumer groups can be explained by the specific oral behaviour they apply and the transitions and breakdown of food structures during mastication. The project developed experimental methodologies to characterise oral coatings and establish correlations between the properties of food stimulus, oral coating and dynamic sensory perception. Eating is not a simple process of food breakdown, but a highly-sophisticated process involving physiological, psychological and neurological human responses to the changing properties of foods. The project developed various experimental techniques including measuring electrical activity in masticatory muscles (electromyography), observations of tongue movements using electromagnetic articulography and quantification of oral coatings based on in vivo fluorescence and ex vivo chemical analysis.

This project has successfully linked food properties, such as mechanical and sensory characteristics, to oral-processing behaviour. This has advanced our understanding of the eating process and bridged the knowledge gap between oral-processing behaviour and food structure. The fundamental knowledge provided by the project will assist the food industry to provide products that are low in fat, salt or sugar and retain excellent sensory performance.




Recent publications

Scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals 2015 Formation dynamics of oral oil coatings and their effect on subsequent sweetness perception of liquid stimuli View summary
Scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals 2016 Tribological properties of rice starch in liquid and semi-solid food model systems View summary
Scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals 2016 Effect of microparticulated whey protein on sensory properties of liquid and semi-solid model foods View summary
Dissertation 2016 Lubrication and perception of foods; Tribological, rheological and sensory properties of particle-filled food systems View summary