Sensory characterisation of food and beverage stimuli containing β-ionone and differences between individuals by genotype for rs6591536

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S. R. Jaeger, H. C. Reinbach, C. M. Roigard, J. F. McRae, B. Pineau, S. L. Chheang, M. K. Beresford, S. A. Rouse, D. Jin, A. G. Paisley, Y. Jia, R. D. Newcomb

The aroma compound β-ionone is present in many fruits and vegetables and their derived products. Odour profiles at different β-ionone concentrations and perceived contributions of β-ionone to food/beverage flavour have only been partially established, and they generally do not extend to differences among individuals who vary in their sensitivity to the odour. Recent research has identified rs6591536, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located in the coding region of the odorant receptor OR5A1 as responsible for major differences in ability to detect β-ionone odour. In Study 1, using trained sensory panellists (n = 12), odour profiles were obtained for a range of β-ionone concentrations and compared across sensitivity groups defined by genotypes for rs5691536 (GG/AG or AA). A similar comparative approach was used in Studies 2 and 3, where participants (n = 104 and 158) characterised food/beverage stimuli containing added β-ionone using check-all-that-apply questions. The concentration of β-ionone required to elicit perception of the 'floral', 'rose/violet' and 'aromatic/fragrant' characteristics typically associated with β-ionone depended on the background fruit flavour (apple, raspberry, orange) and/or the product type (juice, jelly). It also differed among people classified as more sensitive ("sensitive") and more insensitive ("insensitive") to the odour of β-ionone. Perception of negative aspects of β-ionone (incl. 'sour, acid, vinegar', 'sharp, pungent', 'soap', 'chemical', 'artificial', 'aftertaste', 'woody') was encountered in all studies, but with varying frequency depending on concentration of added β-ionone and whether participants were "sensitive" or "insensitive" to β-ionone. There was some evidence in Study 3 that perception of β-ionone flavour was masked by the fruity flavours of the test products and that changes in 'sweet' and 'fruity' were associated with β-ionone spike concentration. Overall, this research suggests a need to consider genotype-encoded sensitivity together with other variables when measuring human flavour perception.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Research International
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Consumer research, Genotype, Odour profiling, Sensory perception

ID: 210532463