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ABSTRACT

This study assessed the effects of three emulsified systems on taste thresholds and the near-threshold taste intensities of the five tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami). Emulsions were formulated with different lipid chemical compositions. Lipid addition in an emulsified form significantly increased thresholds for sour and bitter tastes produced by citric acid and quinine hydrochloride, respectively. No significant differences were found in the threshold levels in emulsions formulated with different lipids for the five tastes evaluated. In general, for the same tastant concentration, taste intensities for sour and bitter tastes were lower in emulsions compared with the aqueous solutions, which is related to the higher threshold observed in the emulsions. On the other hand, the presence of a lipid phase increased the perception of umami and saltiness, with higher intensity values observed in the emulsions. Finally, lipid addition did not affect sweet intensities. These results suggest that, depending on the type of tastant used, the presence of a lipid phase in an emulsified form may alter the sensory perception of foods. Further research needs to be made for specific products to evaluate the effects of specific ingredients on the sensory properties of foods.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

Consumers are aware of the health consequences associated with their diets. Current tendencies of incorporating a healthy diet in consumers' everyday lives have challenged food manufacturers to produce foods with improved nutritional qualities while maintaining their sensory characteristics. Some of these improvements include the formulation of low-sodium, low-carbohydrate and/or low-fat products. Understanding the mechanisms associated with taste perception will help formulate new food products with improved sensory and health characteristics.