Taste and Temperature
Location: Outside U.S.
Date: Fall 2012
Does temperature affect our sense of taste?
Yes, temperature does cause us to perceive flavors differently. There are a number of reasons why: hot foods are more miscible with saliva and may enter the gustatory pore more easily, certain foods may combine flavors better at hot temperatures and then the largest reason, aroma. Heated foods give off aroma, we smell it while we taste. We sense both gustatory and olfactory stimulation that the brain may process in two major areas of grey matter.
For many flavorants, we detect and identify them primarily as odorants. Some argue that over 80% of our tasting of food is actually olfactory in nature. This is the subject of student physiology laboratory exercises.
The work by Bajek(2012) found that in college students, astringent, bitter and sour flavor perceptions were enhanced by temperature increase. Sweet flavor perceptions were not affected by temperature change.
These references should be helpful: Bajek, M. R., Pickering, G.J. and DeCourville, N.(2012) Chemosensory Perception, DOI 10.1007/s12078-012-9129-5 from http://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12078-012-9129-5 http://www.scienceclarified.com/everyday/Real-Life-Biology-Vol-3-Earth-Science-Vol-1/Chemoreception-Real-life-applications.html#b
PEHughes, Ph.D. Milford, NH
Click here to return to the General Topics Archives
Update: December 2011