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    Contribution no. 99–293-J from the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station.

3 Corresponding author. Department of Foods and Nutrition, Justin Hall, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506. Phone: 785–532-0172; E-mail:


The perception of astringency and basic taste in mixtures and their interaction effects were investigated by two procedures. In Experiment 1, focused and nonfocused testing procedures were compared using mixtures of low and high concentrations of alum and basic taste solutions. Both procedures yielded taste and astringency intensities that were modality-dependent. Nonfocused testing was used in Experiment 2 to investigate the interactions of astringent phenolic (tannic acid) and nonphenolic (alum) compounds with each basic taste. Sweetness of sucrose increased with increased concentration with or without alum or tannin present. Changes in salty, bitter, and sour taste intensities were modality-dependent. Astringency either remained unchanged or decreased with the addition of sucrose, sodium chloride, citric acid, or caffeine depending upon the taste concentration. Bitterness of tannin and alum at high concentrations was suppressed by the addition of sucrose, sodium chloride, or citric acid; sourness also decreased in the presence of sucrose or sodium chloride as well as a high level of caffeine.