Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 505075
Title Is fat perception a thermal effect?
Author(s) Prinz, J.F.; Huntjens, L.; Wijk, R.A. de; Engelen, L.; Polet, I.A.
Source Perceptual and Motor Skills 104 (2007)2. - ISSN 0031-5125 - p. 381 - 386.
Department(s) FBR Consumer Science & Health
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2007
Abstract It has been generally assumed that fat is detected by its flavour and by its lubrication of the oral mucosa. A recent study reported a correlation of -.99 between perceived temperature of a product and its fat content. This was significantly higher than correlations of sensory scores for fat flavour, mouthfeel, and afterfeel. This suggested a third detection mechanism; fat may be detected via its effect on the thermal conductivity of the food. In 3 studies, thermal sensitivity in humans was investigated to verify whether oral thermal receptors are sufficiently rapid and accurate to play a role in the perception of fats. The thermal sensitivity of the lips and oral mucosa of the anterior and middle one-third of the tongue were assessed using a Peltier device. Subjects detected 0.5 Hz fluctuations in temperature of 0.08'C on the lower lip, 0.26 degrees C and 1.36 degrees C at the tip and dorsum of the tongue, demonstrating that the lips are sufficiently sensitive to detect small differences in temperature. In two further experiments subjects ingested custards and mayonnaises and then spat out samples after 5, 10, or 20 sec. The temperature of the food and oral mucosa was measured before and after spitting and the rates of heating were calculated. Results suggest assessment of thermal conductivity of food may be used to assess fat content.
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