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Chemosensory Perception

, Volume 5, Issue 3–4, pp 243–265 | Cite as

Influence of Stimulus Temperature on Orosensory Perception and Variation with Taste Phenotype

  • Martha R. Bajec
  • Gary J. Pickering
  • Nancy DeCourville
Article

Abstract

Recently, the phenomenon of thermal taste, where thermal tasters (TTs) perceive taste sensations from the application of thermal stimuli to the tongue, was described. Thermal taster status (TTS) appears to function as a marker of individual variation in orosensory perception, as TTs are more responsive to prototypical orosensory stimuli and flavor attributes in complex beverages than thermal non-tasters. The main objective of this study was to examine the influence of TTS on the relationship between stimulus temperature and orosensory perception. Propylthiouracil (PROP) responsiveness has long been used as an index of individual variation in oral sensation, as general orosensory responsiveness to a variety of stimuli associates with the ability and degree to which individuals perceive PROP's bitterness. PROP taster status (PTS), an expression of individuals' PROP responsiveness, was also examined. Perceptually equi-intense stimuli eliciting sweet, sour, bitter, and astringent sensations were presented at 5 °C and 35 °C and evaluated using time-intensity methodology. Unexpectedly, an apparent trend of TTs reporting higher maximum perceived intensities for all stimuli was not statistically significant, and an examination of individual subjects' data suggests further examination of the influence of TTS on orosensory stimuli is warranted. PROP bitterness and the perceived intensity of orosensory stimuli were not associated at either temperature; however, some differences between PTS groups were found. As previously reported, TTS and PTS interactions were not observed. Interestingly, temperature influenced the maximum intensity perceived from astringent, bitter, and sour stimuli, but not from the sweet stimulus.

Keywords

Taste Astringency Propylthiouracil taster status Thermal taster status Temperature Time-intensity 

Abbreviations

Alum

Aluminum sulfate

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

AUC

Total area under the time-intensity curve

DAng

Angle (°) of sensation from IMax to the last recorded value

DArea

Decrease Area—area under the descending portion of the curve from Imax to the last recorded value

DUR

Total duration (s) that the sensation is rated

FP

Fungiform papillae

gLMS

Generalized labeled magnitude scale

gVAS

Generalized visual analogue scale

IAng

Angle (°) of sensation increase from start to Imax

IArea

Increase Area—area under the ascending portion of the curve from start to Imax

IDelay

Initial Delay—time (s) to first response

IInt

Initial Intensity—first intensity response

IMax

Maximum intensity

LMS

Labeled magnitude scale

MSG

Monosodium glutamate

pMT

PROP medium-taster

pNT

PROP non-taster

PROP

6-n-propylthiouracil

pST

PROP super-taster

PTC

Phenylthiocarbamide

PTS

PROP taster status

SEM

Standard error

TI

Time intensity

TMax

Time (s) to maximum intensity

TnT(s)

Thermal non-taster(s)

TPRM5

Transient receptor potential melastatin 5 channel

TT(s)

Thermal taster(s)

TTS

Thermal taster status

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was completed as part of MRB's PhD requirements at Brock University. The authors thank Lynda van Zuiden (Brock University) for assistance. The Brock University Electronics and Machine Shops are thanked for building the thermode. Dr. Barry Green (Yale University) is sincerely thanked for his assistance with the production of the thermode, and Dr. Linda Bartoshuk (University of Florida) is thanked for her guidance on scale choice and use. Anonymous reviewers are thanked for their thoughtful comments and insightful suggestions. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Pangborn Sensory Science Scholarship, and the American Wine Society Educational Foundation are gratefully acknowledged for scholarship funding. GalaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Division, which underwrites the Pangborn Scholarship, has no other interest in this work. An NSERC Discovery Grant (#238881) to GJP supported this research.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martha R. Bajec
    • 1
  • Gary J. Pickering
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Nancy DeCourville
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesBrock UniversityOntarioCanada
  2. 2.Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture InstituteBrock UniversityOntarioCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyBrock UniversityOntarioCanada

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