Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Food Science

Advisor

Han-Seok Seo

Committee Member

Nathan Parks

Second Committee Member

Jean-Francois Meullenet

Third Committee Member

Andy Mauromoustakos

Fourth Committee Member

Ya-Jane Wang

Abstract

Texture is an often-overlooked food attribute and is known to influence other food characteristics. More specifically, texture has been repeatedly to influence how we perceive flavor. Several studies have linked this change in flavor perception to the altered mastication patterns that accompany texture changes. This dissertation is composed of four studies that were designed to address how American food consumers view texture and other food attributes as well as characterize how texture and mastication can influence temporal flavor dynamics. The first study was a survey that outlined consumer attitudes towards a variety of different foods. This study solidified that texture is indeed one of, if not the most important food attribute. Also, it was found that texture importance changes as consumers age. The second study started the exploration of how texture can influence flavor perception. Potato chips of different textures were given to participants and they were asked to rate their flavor perception over time. During the consumption of these chips the mastication of the participants was also recorded using electromyography. It was found that the temporal flavor dynamics were indeed different based upon the texture. Older adults don’t show the same influence of texture as displayed by younger adults. The number of chews was instrumental in helping to understand how texture influences flavor. Moving forward, the third and fourth experiments were fashioned to confirm that mastication was indeed a factor in flavor perception. The chewing rate and chewing duration was found to directly influence temporal flavor perception, as measured by Time-intensity methodology. Additionally, it was found that the effect of mastication on Temporal Dominance of Sensations was minimal, when compared to Time-intensity. This study characterizes how texture is viewed by the American food consumer and gives valuable information on the mechanisms behind texture’s influence of flavor perception. Additionally, specific mastication parameters were identified as being integral in changes in temporal flavor dynamics.

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