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Delivery of Taste and Aroma Components in Sugar-Free Chewing Gum: Mass Balance Analysis



Flavor is known as one of the main criteria that influences food choice. For flavor to be perceived, it needs to be released from the food. Prior studies on mechanisms that govern flavor release have largely focused on interactions with food/ingredients and have analyzed a single flavor modality (aroma or taste). The lack of comprehensive methods has limited our understanding of flavor release from food.


The aim of this study was to comprehensively monitor flavor release by conducting a mass balance analysis (exhaled air, saliva, and gum bolus) of both volatile aroma and non-volatile taste compounds during mastication of chewing gum.


Concentrations of volatiles (ethyl butyrate, benzaldehyde, menthol, menthone, and limonene) and non-volatiles compounds (sorbitol, aspartame, and acesulfame K) were determined over a 12-min mastication time period in expectorated saliva, gum bolus, and exhaled breath (only for volatiles) using LC/MS/MS, GC/MS, and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-MS.


The percent release of the volatile compounds during mastication was lower when compared to the non-volatile compounds. The aroma release profile in the exhaled breath was not related to the compound concentration in the saliva or gum bolus. Results suggested the aroma release was primarily controlled by residual levels of these compounds in the oral cavity and/or the lungs. Similarly, the release profiles of the non-volatiles were not concentration dependent during the first 4 min of mastication, suggesting physical entrapment in the gum base and subsequent release when exposed to the oral cavity for extraction via mechanical stress during mastication.


Two main mechanisms of flavor delivery from chewing gum were supported based on a mass balance analysis: (1) the renewal of the gum bolus surface area and (2) the absorption of the aroma compounds in the oral cavity or lungs as an important mechanism of aroma release.


Our findings provide further insight into mechanisms of flavor delivery and an improved basis to investigate flavor perception of foodstuffs.

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Correspondence to Devin G. Peterson.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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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. The study protocol and consent procedure received ethical approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the University of Minnesota.

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Raithore, S., Peterson, D.G. Delivery of Taste and Aroma Components in Sugar-Free Chewing Gum: Mass Balance Analysis. Chem. Percept. 9, 182–192 (2016).

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  • Flavor release mechanisms
  • Mass balance
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