Presentation Details
Thermal taste status moderates perception of binary ethanol solutions

Margaret K Thibodeau1, Gary J Pickering1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

1Department of Biological Sciences, Brock University, St.Catharines, ON, Canada.2Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University, St.Catharines, ON, Canada.3Department of Psychology, Brock University, St.Catharines, ON, Canada.4Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia.5University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Australia


Ethanol (EtOH), present in all alcoholic beverages, is a complex stimulus that elicits multiple gustatory and chemesthetic sensations. Alcoholic beverages also contain other tastants that significantly impact flavour, and flavour is a key driver of consumer preference and intake. Thermal taste status (TTS) is a source of individual variation across multiple flavour modalities, however suppression and enhancement phenomena have not been investigated in the context of TTS. In this study we sought to characterize the binary interactions between EtOH and four orosensory stimuli; fructose (sweet), quinine (bitter), tartaric acid (sour) and alum sulfate (astringent) and determine if/how these interactions are moderated by TTS. Female participants (21-22 thermal tasters (TT) & 16-17 thermal non-tasters (TnT)) rated the intensity of five orosensations (gLMS; sweet, sour, bitter, astringent, burning) in binary solutions of EtOH (5%, 13% or 23% v/v) + a tastant (low, medium or high).  For each tastant, 3-way ANOVAs (TTS, EtOH concentration, tastant concentration) determined which factors impacted orosensory ratings.  TTs rated the sweetness of fructose + EtOH solutions (F=47, p<0.001), astringency of alum sulfate + EtOH solutions (F=31, p<0.001) and sourness of tartaric acid + EtOH solutions (F=3.6, p=0.059) higher than TnTs, but not the bitterness of quinine + EtOH solutions (F=1.1, p=0.302). Further results to be reported include the indices of interaction (isobole method) which characterize the nature of the interactions between the tastants and EtOH. Overall, our results show that the orosensory advantage of TTs extends to binary and sensorially complex mixtures, with implications for alcohol preference and behaviour. 

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