Influence of Texture on Taste: Insights Gained During Studies of Hardness, Juiciness, and Sweetness of Apple Fruit

Authors

  • F. Roger Harker,

    Corresponding author
    1. Authors Harker, Amos, and Gunson are with Horticulture and Food Research Inst. of New Zealand, Mt. Albert Research Centre, Private Bag 92169, Auckland. New Zealand.
      Direct inquires to author Harker (E-mail: rharker@hortresearch.co.nz).
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  • Rachel L. Amos,

    1. Authors Harker, Amos, and Gunson are with Horticulture and Food Research Inst. of New Zealand, Mt. Albert Research Centre, Private Bag 92169, Auckland. New Zealand.
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  • Gemma Echeverríaa,

    1. Author EcheverrÍa is with Centre UdL-IRTA, Rovira Roure, Lleida, Spain.
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  • F. Anne Gunson

    1. Authors Harker, Amos, and Gunson are with Horticulture and Food Research Inst. of New Zealand, Mt. Albert Research Centre, Private Bag 92169, Auckland. New Zealand.
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Direct inquires to author Harker (E-mail: rharker@hortresearch.co.nz).

ABSTRACT

Apple flesh can be considered as a living structure within which juice and tastants are encapsulated in individual cells. The breakdown of this structure and release of juice varies between hard and soft apples. We hypothesized that the texture of the fruit and the way it releases juice during chewing would therefore influence the perception of sweetness. Time-intensity (TI) techniques were used by a trained panel to study the temporal changes in the intensity of “juiciness” and “sweetness” during consumption of apples that varied in mechanical hardness (measured by puncture test). All apple samples had a similar water content, but the pattern of juice release was markedly different. Juice was released into the mouth in a pattern of increasing and then deceasing intensity. The maximum intensity (Imax), duration of the stimulus (DUR), and area under the TI curve (AUC) were significantly higher for hard compared with soft apples. The impact of juice release on perception of sweetness was examined using apples in which the Imax and AUC for juiciness of soft apples were half the value of those for firm apples. There was no consistent difference in Imax, DUR, or AUC for sweet taste in these 2 sets of apples. We concluded that sufficient juice was released from soft and less juicy apples to ensure that sweetness perception was maximized. These results are discussed in relation to earlier studies that demonstrated that texture (thickening agents) suppresses flavor perception in solutions and juices.

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