Chemosensory Perception

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 1–7 | Cite as

The Contribution of Bitter Blockers and Sensory Interactions to Flavour Perception

  • Nicole J. Gaudette
  • Jeannine F. Delwiche
  • Gary J. Pickering



There is a continued need for the application of flavour modifiers to improve the sensory profile of products within the functional food market. Additionally, psychophysical studies have tended to confine their scope to stimuli that elicit single sensations, and ingredients that are not always of most interest to the food industry. While basic taste-eliciting compounds and odourants have been used in functional food optimisation, modification can also include the addition of bitter-blocking ingredients. This study examines the impact that these modifiers have both alone and in conjunction with each other on the flavour of (+)-catechin containing model functional beverages.


The intensities of sweetness, bitterness, astringency and aroma were rated for (+)-catechin (CAT) aqueous solutions alone and containing a sweetener [sucrose or rebaudioside A (REB)], an odourant (vanilla or black tea), a bitter blocker [ß-cyclodextrin (CD) or homoeriodictyol sodium salt], and all combinations of each.


The use of sweeteners, both alone and in conjunction with bitter blockers, decreased the bitterness of CAT, while odourants had no effect. CD + REB significantly decreased the astringency of CAT. Astringency and bitterness of CAT was not altered by the addition of bitter blockers alone or in combination with odourants. Bitter blockers did not affect intensities of sweetness and aroma.


The use of sweeteners in combination with bitter blockers can lower the bitterness of (+)-catechin. The addition of bitter blockers may be used without a detrimental effect on the flavour profile of model beverages.


Decreasing the bitterness of plant-derived, health-promoting compounds may be achieved through the application of certain sweet eliciting and bitter-blocking compounds, which in turn, may lead to increasing the acceptability of some functional foods for bitter sensitive consumer populations.


Bitterness Bitter blockers Sensory interactions Flavour Functional foods 



Dr. Jakob Ley of Symrise AG (Holzminden, Germany) is thanked for the donation of homoeriodictyol sodium salt. We are grateful to all the participants who participated in the sensory panels. We acknowledge and thank OMAFRA (Sustainable Production Systems Research Program) and The American Wine Society Educational Foundation for their financial assistance.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


The study was funded by an OMAFRA (Sustainable Production Systems Research Program) grant to the last author, and an American Wine Society Educational grant to the first author.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole J. Gaudette
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jeannine F. Delwiche
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Gary J. Pickering
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  2. 2.Food Processing Development Centre, Food and Bio Processing Division, Alberta Agriculture and ForestryLeducCanada
  3. 3.PepsiCo Long Term ResearchHawthorneUSA
  4. 4.Tasting ScienceEvansvilleUSA
  5. 5.Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, and Department of PsychologyBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  6. 6.National Wine and Grape Industry CentreCharles Sturt UniversityWagga WaggaAustralia

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