Evidence for human orosensory (taste?) sensitivity to free fatty acids

Chalé-Rush, Angela, Burgess, John R. and Mattes, Richard D. (2007) Evidence for human orosensory (taste?) sensitivity to free fatty acids. Chemical Senses, 32(5), pp. 423-431. ISSN (print) 0379-864X


Accumulating evidence suggests dietary fatty acids (FAs) may be sensed in the oral cavity. However, the effective cues have not been characterized. In particular, influences from other sensory cues have hampered identification of an independent gustatory contribution. Experiment 1 examined techniques to minimize the formation of FA oxidation products and improve the homogeneity of water/lipid emulsions to be used as stimuli in Experiment 2, a psychophysical study to determine FA detection thresholds in humans. Through sonication of chilled samples held in polypropylene labware and the addition of 0.01% ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, calcium disodium salt, homogenous emulsions of unoxidized linoleic and oleic FAs were obtained. Spectrophotometric analysis revealed no oxidation product formation over a 24-h period. Coupled with these techniques, a masking approach was used to minimize other sensory cues imparted from linoleic, oleic, and stearic FAs. Concentration ranges from 0.00028% to 5% (w/v) were prepared in mixtures with 5% mineral oil (w/v) and 5% gum acacia (w/v) to mask lubricity and viscosity effects, respectively. Testing was conducted under red light with nares blocked to eliminate visual and olfactory cues. Oral rinses with 20 ppm capsaicin were administered to desensitize participants to selected irritation effects prior to remeasuring linoleic acid detection thresholds. To determine if the effective stimulus was an oxidation product, oxidized linoleic acid was included among the test stimuli. Detection thresholds were obtained using a 3-alternative, forced-choice ascending-concentration presentation procedure. The mean detection threshold for linoleic acid pre-desensitization was 0.034 +/- 0.008%, for linoleic acid post-desensitization was 0.032 +/- 0.007%, for oleic 0.022 +/- 0.003%, for stearic 0.032 +/- 0.005%, and oxidized linoleic 0.025 +/- 0.005%. The results suggest that linoleic, oleic, stearic, and oxidized linoleic acids are detectable in the oral cavity of humans with minimal input from the olfactory, capsaicin, and viscosity-assessing tactile systems.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page