Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Technology

Major Professor

Francine H. Hollis

Committee Members

P. Michael Davidson, Daniela M. Corbetta


Although odorants and tastants are perceived by two different sensory modalities, the perceived taste qualities of a solution may be modified with the addition of an odorant. While many studies have investigated odor-induced taste modifications in model solutions, there is a lack of conducted research examining odor-induced taste modifications in complex food systems. The research objective was to determine the effect of added vapor-phase stimuli on the perceived sweetness of a model solution and complex food system.

Eight vapor-phase stimuli (i.e. blueberry, caramel, ginger, honey, lemon, orange, peach, and strawberry) were selected for investigation. The study was conducted in two parts. For Part 1, a 0.3 M sucrose solution was used as the model solution. Untrained panelists (n=76) evaluated sucrose solutions with and without added vaporphase stimuli regarding overall aroma intensity, sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and bitterness. For Part 2, green and black teas were selected as the complex food system. Untrained panelists (n=71) evaluated green and black teas with and without added vapor-phase stimuli regarding overall aroma intensity, sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and bitterness.

Data were analyzed using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) with Tukey’s Honest Significant Difference (HSD) post-hoc test to determine differences in overall perceived aroma intensities and taste intensities. Lemon had the highest sweetness intensity rating among model sucrose solutions. Only the lemon and caramel vapor-phase stimuli enhanced the perceived sweetness intensity of the model solution (p<0.05). Caramel had the highest sweetness intensity rating for both green and black teas. No perceived sweetness enhancements were observed in the green and black teas. However, ginger suppressed the perceived sweetness of the green and black teas (p<0.05). Strawberry and blueberry also suppressed the perceived sweetness of the black tea (p<0.05). Differences in perceived sweetness intensities among vapor-phase stimuli may be attributed to previous associations and co-occurrences of vapor-phase stimuli and tastants in food products as well as interactions that may occur between the volatile and non-volatile components in the food systems used. Results may be useful in food industry applications such as the modification of perceived taste qualities of beverages, specifically tea, without altering the nutritional composition.

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