Biological Basis and Functional Assessment of Oral Sensation

Reference work entry


When we eat or drink, separate sensory systems carry taste, smell, irritation, and texture signals to the brain, where these signals are packaged into a composite flavor sensation. Each sensory system has specialized receptors that respond to a specific stimuli that can be chemical (taste, odor, irritant) or mechanical (texture) in nature. Variability in these sensory inputs can arise from genetics, environmental exposure, diseases, and aging. This variability influences the separate sensory inputs and composite flavor sensations with downstream implications for what we like and chose to eat, such as the quality of the eating experience, and our overall health. In some cases, sensory inputs can be altered or distorted (e.g., phantom sensations). Simple standardized measures are available for screening, such as in-depth assessment of separate sensory systems and integrated flavor sensations.



This work was supported by the US Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA) Hatch Project Funds (#CONS00928 and Accession #1001056, and #PEN04708 and Accession #1019852).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Allied Health Sciences, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural ResourcesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  2. 2.Sensory Evaluation CenterThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Food Science, College of Agricultural SciencesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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