Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Food Science and Technology

Major Professor

Marjorie P. Penfield

Committee Members

Genevieve Christen, Betsy Haughton, Sharon Melton, Arnold Saxton


Capsaicin (CAP) concentration, fat level and fat mimetic effects on perceived heat intensity over time were studied in a randomized design blocked on panelist. Cheese sauces were formulated with 5 CAP levels—0.0, 0.4, 0.8, 1.2, and 1.6 ppm across 3 fat levels—full, reduced and low. Reduced- and low-fat sauces were formulated with 4 fat mimetics—Dairy Trim, N-Lite L, Paselli Excel, and Simplesse. Measurements of pH and viscosity were recorded on days 1 and 3 of each week. Sensory heat data were collected at one sitting per day, 3 d a week for 5 wk. A trained sensory panel scored heat intensity every 15 sec for 180-sec in 3 samples at each sitting.

Decreasing fat levels and increasing CAP levels led to increased pH. Viscosity increased as fat mimetic within fat level was changed. Neither was correlated with perceived heat intensity.

Pungency in cheese sauces was related to CAP concentration and fat level, but not to fat mimetic. Time-intensity parameters of pungency did not differ among fat levels at low CAP levels (0.0 and 0.4 ppm). At 0.8 ppm CAP, perceived intensity over time, maximum heat and total intensity were higher in reduced- and low-fat sauces. Low-fat sauces were perceived as more pungent over time with greater maximum heat and total intensity than full-fat sauces at 1.2 ppm CAP. Across all fat levels at 1.6 ppm CAP, no differences occurred in perceived heat over time. Maximum heat in full-fat sauces did not differ from that in reduced- or low-fat sauces at 1.6 ppm CAP; reduced-fat sauces had lower maximum heat than low-fat. Total heat intensity differed across all fat levels at 1.6 ppm CAP; low-fat cheese sauces with 1.6 ppm CAP had greater total intensity than either reduced- or full-fat sauces at the same level of CAP. At low fat levels, less capsaicin will impart heat intensity equal to that of moderate to high concentrations of capsaicin in full-fat cheese sauces.

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