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Glenn Hjorth Andersen

PhD Student

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PhD project: Sweet-sweet interactions in model and food matrices:
an investigation on a chemical, physiological, perceptual, and cultural level

University: Aarhus University
Department: Department of Food Science
Supervisor: Ulla Kidmose, Associate professor
Project supervisor: Niki Alexi, Post doc., Derek Byrne, Professor, Sun Yuanxia, Professor
Project term: 010121 – 311223
Master’s degree: MSc in Molecular Nutrition and Food Technology, Aarhus University

BACKGROUND
The global trends in prevalence of obesity and related lifestyle diseases continues to increase. The increase is partly attributed to the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Furthermore, consumer demands for reduced sugar content in foods and beverages are largely driven by the current interest in health-oriented products with clean labels. This reduction can be achieved by replacing sugar, partly or completely, with different sweeteners. However, many of the non-/low-caloric sweeteners are not always successful in replacing sugar while satisfying consumer demands of a sugar-like sweetness perception,  since many are associated with non-optimal tastes (off-flavors and side tastes) & temporal profiles (lingering sensations). Blends of sweeteners with different properties can interact and provide an improved sweetness profile and intensity, compared to the individual sweeteners, through mechanisms called taste-taste interactions. The effects of sweet-sweet interactions can be explored at different levels, such as the product-, physiological (oral)-, and perceptual levels since all contribute to differences in the final sensory human perception. At the product level, chemical interactions between matrix constituents and sweeteners can result in perceptual changes in basic tastes. There are several human factors that will result in difference in sweet taste perception and in perception of taste-taste interactions. These include the genetic background, cultural differences as well as differences in demographic factors.

 

AIM
The overall research aim of the present PhD project is to explore how different blends of sweeteners interact and affect the perceived sensory properties of model and more complex food matrices. Furthermore, an investigation into how the sensory perception of sweetener blends are influenced by the different interaction levels, specifically the chemical, physiological, individual, and cultural level.

 

RESEARCH OUTLINE
In this project we will investigate sweet-sweet interactions in sweetener blends in both model aqueous matrices, and complex matrices by applying different sensory evaluation methods. To assess effects at both the individual and cultural levels, a sensory panel and consumers will be applied to evaluate the formulated matrices. A split-tongue experiment setup will be applied to investigate mechanism behind the central-peripheral integration of sweet-sweet interactions.

 

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