9. The Sensory Systems and Food Palatability

  1. Dr Susan A Lanham-New2,
  2. Professor Ian A Macdonald3 and
  3. Associate Professor Helen M Roche4
  1. Dr Conor M Delahunty

Published Online: 16 MAR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444327779.ch9

Nutrition and Metabolism, Second Edition

Nutrition and Metabolism, Second Edition

How to Cite

Delahunty, C. M. (2010) The Sensory Systems and Food Palatability, in Nutrition and Metabolism, Second Edition (eds S. A. Lanham-New, I. A. Macdonald and H. M. Roche), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444327779.ch9

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Surrey, UK

  2. 3

    University of Nottingham, UK

  3. 4

    University College Dublin, Ireland

Author Information

  1. CSIRO Food Science Australia, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2011
  2. Published Print: 19 NOV 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405168083

Online ISBN: 9781444327779



  • sensory systems and food palatability;
  • vision, guiding food selection - predictive signals for other senses;
  • human senses, role in type and quantity of food consumed;
  • visual sense, guiding selection or choice - appearance and colour as cues;
  • absolute taste thresholds - for common taste compounds;
  • absolute thresholds - minimum concentration of substance detection;
  • chemesthesis, sensory system responsible - for detecting chemical irritants;
  • chemesthesis thresholds;
  • psycophysical principles, and vision - sensitivity to colour and appearance stimuli measured;
  • palatability, hedonic reward - sensory properties of food or beverage


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction to the sensory systems

  • The taste system

  • The olfactory system

  • Smell mixtures

  • Chemesthesis

  • Texture

  • Role of saliva

  • Vision

  • Adaptation

  • Cross-modal sensory interactions

  • Food preferences

  • Changing function of the senses across the lifespan

  • Future perspectives

  • Further reading