After a mouthful of food has been swallowed, some food material is always retained in the mouth. With semi-solid foods this is in the form of a coating that adheres to the oral mucosa. The amount and location of this material may play an important role in food sensations. In this study two quantitative methods of describing the coatings, generated by a set of 16 model custards varying in degree of lubrication (fat content) and degree of viscosity (starch concentration) are investigated. In the first method, a trained quantitative descriptive analysis panel (N = 8) was instructed to take single mouthfuls of semi-solid foods, swallow and then rinse twice for 5 s with water and spit out. The turbidity of the rinse water was then measured. During the same session, sensory assessments of the products were obtained. In the second method the thickness of the coating on the anterior and middle one-thirds of the tongue was quantified using a pair of opto-electronic reflectance sensors mounted on a probe which was placed on the tongue, one sensor measuring the anterior part of the tongue the other the posterior (middle third) of the tongue. Turbidity of the first rinse related strongly to the food's viscosity, as well as to sensory attributes associated with the food's fat content and viscosity, such as perceived thickness, creaminess and fattiness. Turbidity of subsequent rinses related primarily to fat content. These results indicate that turbidity of rinse water is a useful tool in fundamental (e.g., food texture research) as well as applied research (e.g., product development and quality assurance in food industry). Reflectance varied primarily with fat content and did not relate well to sensory attributes.
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