Saturday, August 1, 2015

Oleogustus: Potential New Taste Sensation?

            Recently, we played a prank on an individual at work and ultimately had him eat a large bite of solid butter. At the time I didn’t realize that there was talk of a new flavor sensation. Oleogustus, or the “fatty flavor,” is the potential name of the sixth flavor sensation. The name is derived from the Latin word oleo, which means oily or fatty, and the word gustus, referring to taste. The research team at Purdue University argues that the oleogustus flavor could aid in producing better tasting foods and allow health professionals to better understand the health implications of oral fat exposure. The researchers have circumstantial evidence of the existence of this flavor from a study conducted that asked the 102 participants to distinguish odorless, colorless and untextured samples as salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami and oleogustus. Interestingly enough, the oleogustus flavor is somewhat bitter, and based on the dissatisfied, puckered, prune-face that my coworker displayed, this is accurate. In fact, in the study at Purdue University, the participants frequently paired the bitter sample with the oleogustus flavor. These flavors were then distinguished upon further classification, because they are quite distinct. This flavor is not yet recognized, as more research still needs to be done, but the initial research is there.

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