THE PERCEPTION OF FOOD TEXTURE - THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BREAKDOWN PATH

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ABSTRACT

Many authors have drawn attention to the limitations of present texture testing methods. To a great extent this may be due to the assumption that the perception of the structural properties of foods is comprised of a series of single attributes. This philosophy may account for the failure of the single instrumental measurement as a reliable texture descriptor.

The present paper emphasises that texture perception is a dynamic sensory monitor of changes made to a food by processes occurring in the mouth. A general three dimensional model applicable to foods is postulated with “Degree of Structure”, “Degree of Lubrication” and “Time” as its axes. As each food is changed in the mouth, it describes its own “Breakdown Path” throughout the three dimensions. This approach is seen as the start of a general hypothesis for the physics and psychophysics of mastication.

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