Food is essential in maintaining a healthy life. However, acceptance of food is not always determined by its nutritive value, but by the preference of each person. Nevertheless, food preference is complex and often influenced by several factors. Among these elements are traditions, psychological factors, and foodways including friends/family as well as sensory attributes (color, tastes odor and texture) (“Lab #4: Sensory Evaluation of Food”). Both taste and odor are constituents of flavor, and they have a significant influence on food intake and acceptability.
Genetics, on the other hand, has an immense impact on lives. It is equally a critical factor, which affects food acceptability. In that regard, nutrigenomics shows substantial effects on sensory evaluation. Simply defined, nutrigenomics refers to how common dietary chemicals influence health by altering gene expression (“Lab #4: Sensory Evaluation of Food”). By extension, taste is a genetic trait. Thus, nutrigenomics contributes to taste perception, particularly, among people from diverse background.
Body organs can determine and make choices on particular food qualities. The brain, for instance, can detect both taste and odor. Generally, five different tastes can be recognized by the brain. These are called primary components of taste (“Lab #4: Sensory Evaluation of Food”). They include umami, salt, sour, sweet, and bitter. A sweet taste is associated with sugars in food substances while salty one is mostly caused by the presence of sodium chloride. Umami tastes, on the other hand, are perceived as a result of the existence of glutamic acid salt in some food materials (“Lab #4: Sensory Evaluation of Food”). Finally, a sour taste is the result of organic acids present in a food substance. Ultimately, sensory evaluation has become critical in conducting research related to food, food-quality-control, and food product marketing.
The purpose of Lab #4 was to utilize sensory evaluation techniques to illustrates principles of taste used in the sensory analysis. The experiments that were administered included the ranking test where participants were required to rank solutions based on the concentrations they perceived during the trial. Additionally, scoring tests were indicated by expressions such as most sweet, moderate sweet and low sweet. During the study, the four experiments that were conducted include determining threshold concentration of the primary tastes, the adaptation of receptors, effects of temperature on tastes, and perception of PTC and sodium benzoate (“Lab #4: Sensory Evaluation of Food”).
The sensory evaluation was performed using panelists from diverse culture, sex, and other social life forms. Thus, the respondents in the study included Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. Both gender and age balance were observed.
The goal of this first experiment was to allow the participants to evaluate and determine approximate concentrations of salty, sweet, sour, and bitter.
Procedure: The participants were allowed to taste each of the solutions labeled as 1, 2, and 3. In between each of the tests, the panelists waited before moving to the next solution to ascertain the taste detection. For each subsequent trial, the participants used distilled water to rinse their mouths. A small amount of the solutions was pipetted into the participants’ mouths starting from the lowest to the most concentrated solution. The result of the concentrations as reported by panelists were recorded according to Table 2.
This experiment analyzed the effects of temperature on the perceived sweetness of the taste.
Procedure: In this experiment, 10% of sucrose solution was first subjected to different temperatures of 4°C, 25°C, and 49°C. A small quantity of each of the solutions exposed to different temperature was pipetted into the mouth by each participant and tasted while rinsing mouth in between the subsequent tests. The solutions were ranked according to the perceived sweetness using a scale of most sweet (1), moderately sweet (2), least sweet (3). The result of the test was recorded in Table 3.
The perception of PTC and sodium benzoate test was carried out to determine the effects of genetics on taste.
The materials used to perform the test were the taste papers, sodium benzoate, distilled water, and PTC.
Procedure: Each of the participants, was given the papers to taste. In every test, distilled water was used to rinse the mouth by the panelists. The papers were tasted starting from the control and proceeding to the subsequent samples. All the results were recorded for the ability to taste indicated by yes or no in table 4.
The fundamental objective of this experiment was to analyze the adaptation of taste receptors.
Procedure: A small amount of sodium chloride was put into the mouth and held for some seconds while recording the time at which the saltiness subsides. The result of the time in seconds at which a complete adaptation occurred was recorded in table 5.
The result of the experiments was recorded as shown in the following Tables below.
|Table A: The composition of the panelists|
|Average age||Gender||Smoking||Ethnic background|
|Table 2: The lowest concentration at which the taste was detected (for Experiment 1)|
|Table 3: Ranking values for sweetness at different temperatures (Experiment 2)|
|Ice (4°C)||Room temperature (25°C)||Warm temperature 49(°C)|
|Table 4: The ability to taste PTC and sodium benzoate (Experiment 3)|
|Taste detection||PTC||Sodium benzoate|
|Table 5: Time for complete adaptation to occur (Experiment 4)|
|Average time (seconds)||27 Seconds|
The percentage of tasters was 100% while the percentage of non-tasters was 0%. This outcome stipulates that the ethnic groups tested showed a difference from one another in their response about perceived taste intensity. The result indicated that Hispanics and African Americans rated taste perception relatively higher than non-Hispanic Whites and Asians.
Melis, Melania, and Iole Tomassini Barbarossa. “Taste Perception of Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, And Umami and Changes Due to L-Arginine Supplementation, As A Function Of Genetic Ability To Taste 6-N-Propylthiouracil.” Nutrients, vol.9, no.6, 2017, p.541.
Lab #4: Sensory Evaluation of Food.