Scientists identify natural compounds that enhance humans' perception of sweetness
(Medical Xpress)—University of Florida taste scientist Linda Bartoshuk and her colleagues want to play a trick on you—but it's for your own good.
The UF team has identified a group of naturally occurring compounds that enhance the way people perceive sweetness, and believe that those compounds can be used to make foods taste sweeter using far less sugar and no artificial sweetener.
The group, which includes eminent scholar Harry Klee and professors David Clark and Charles Sims, all of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, has collaborated for several years on flavor- and aroma-related research studies. Bartoshuk is a professor with UF's Center for Smell and Taste, part of the UF College of Dentistry.
UF technology licensing officials are seeking companies interested in finding ways to turn the researchers' findings about flavor into a commercially viable product that can be used to sweeten foods and beverages in a natural, more healthful way. Klee and Bartoshuk will make a presentation in February about the work at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston.
The natural sweetener discovery was made during the group's work, led by Klee, to break down the chemistry behind the complex flavors in tomato.
During that research, genes and biochemical pathways responsible for producing the volatile chemicals that give fresh tomatoes their characteristic flavor and aroma were chronicled, and nearly 100 tomato varieties were tested by scientists and also used in taste tests by 13 panels of 100 people who rated each tomato's taste.
They knew that there are two ways humans evaluate smell: Orthonasal, or through the nostrils, and retronasal, behind the palate while eating. In retronasal olfaction, smell and taste interact.
Capitalizing on interactions between retronasal olfaction and taste, the food industry has sometimes used sugar to intensify people's perception of specific flavors.
Following the tomato taste panels, Bartoshuk had reams of information about the chemical makeup of tomato fruit and everything that had been gleaned from the taste panels about what tasters liked and didn't like.
To discern which factors were playing the biggest roles in people's tomato-taste preferences, she used statistics to examine how the fruit's sweetness was explained both by flavor ratings and sugar content.
"If the sweetness is all due to sugar, then that's the only variable that would've been significant," she said. "But flavor was highly significant. So suddenly we knew that the volatiles were making independent contributions to the perceived sweetness."
The UF team's findings were solidified by similar analysis following a study of taste in strawberries.
"It turns out that fruit has been using this mechanism forever and we didn't know it," Bartoshuk said. "So when you bite into a strawberry, you think when it tastes sweet, you're tasting sugar. But 10 percent of that 'sweet' is in the volatiles. And we didn't know that. So lo and behold, we get all of these data and we do the math, and we're stunned—we have a new source of sweetness, we create it in the brain, with volatiles."
Klee said the potential applications for a natural sweetener are vast and reducing the amount of sugar used in processed foods can only be good for people.
"The fact is that people really like sweet," he said. "And if we can make foods taste as sweet as they currently do without adding sugar? That's really exciting."
Provided by University of Florida
- The secret to good tomato chemistry May 24, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- To get the full flavor, you need the right temperature May 14, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Monday's medical myth: Blame it on my sweet tooth Jul 23, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- A trained palate: Understanding complexities of taste, smell could lead to improved diet May 30, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers find genes that 'tune' flower fragrances Feb 09, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
15 hours ago I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
Genetic variations within and between populations
May 12, 2013 This paper (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1893020/) asserts these two different conclusions: ---Quote--- Thus the answer to the...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Medical research 10 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Scientists investigating the interaction of a group of proteins in the brain responsible for protecting nerve cells from damage have identified a new target that could increase cell survival.
Medical research 15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
New findings by researchers carrying out experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Photon Source (APS) help explain why some drugs that interact with two kinds of human serotonin ...
Medical research 17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Peptide molecules derived from the body's natural immune system can help boost the body's defence against life-threatening blood poisoning, joint University research has uncovered.
Medical research 18 hours ago | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A new Montréal study conducted by Dr. May Faraj, associate research professor at the Université de Montréal and invited scientist at the IRCM, along with her research team and medical collaborators, shows ...
Medical research 18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
34 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
13 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
(AP)—A woman who lost both hands, her left leg and right foot after contracting a flesh-eating disease has been fitted with prosthetic hands.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
10 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |