Published on April 8, 2013 at 2:54 AM
For example, baked beans and beans in foods like chili provide a "full," rich mouth-feel. Adding the component of beans responsible for this texture to another food could give it the same sensation in the mouth, he explained. Natural components also can interact with substances in foods to create new sensations.
The researchers use sensomics to better understand why foods taste, feel and smell appetizing or unappetizing. They use laboratory instruments to pick apart the chemical components. They then put those components together in different combinations and give these versions to human taste-testers who evaluate the foods. In this way, they discovered that although coffee contains 1,000 potential odor components, only 25 actually interact with an odor receptor in the nose and are smelled.
"Receptors help us sense flavors and aromas in the mouth and nose," said Schieberle. "These receptors are called G-protein-coupled receptors, and they were the topic of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2012. They translate these sensations into a perception in the brain telling us about the qualities of a food." Odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system also were the topic of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Of the total of around 1,000 receptors in the human body, about 800 of these are G-protein-coupled receptors, he said. Half of these G-protein-coupled receptors sense and translate aromas. But only 27 taste receptors exist. And although much research in the food industry has gone into identifying food components, little effort has focused on the tying those components to flavor perceptions until now, he said.
SOURCE American Chemical Society