Minggu, 03 Agustus 2008

Enhancing Taste Sensations

Scientists at San Diego-based Senomyx are searching for compounds that specifically magnify just one of the taste sensations we especially prefer (sweet, salty, or savory) or that block the sensation of bitterness. After searching through tens of thousands of synthetic and natural compounds, they now have several specific “flavor modulator” compounds that appear to work.

The commercial possibilities and health implications are almost limitless. If food product manufacturers could use less sugar in their products and still satisfy our craving for that sweet taste, perhaps people would be able to diet more effectively. Caloric intake might decline, leading to a reversal of the obesity epidemic. Less salt in our food products might mean less cardiovascular disease. Block the bitter taste receptors and children would eat more vegetables. Bitter medicines would be more palatable, improving patient compliance in taking them.

Some big companies are interested, including Coca Cola, Nestle, and Cadbury. Nestle is already using a flavor modulator from Senomyx in some of its products. Read about it in this month's Scientific American (“Magnifying Taste.” Scientific American August, 2008, pp. 96-99.) You’re likely to see “flavor modulators” or “taste enhancers” listed among your favorite products’ ingredients in the near future.

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