F&F Literature Review: Pinpointing Performance


Who among us has never declared something to taste or smell funny? To F&F chemists, this is no laughing matter, as it could mean the performance of the flavor or fragrance is off-target—or, it’s time to clean out the refrigerator. This brief look at recent literature is focused on research pertaining to F&F materials and performance.

Jackfruit Seed-encapsulated Vanilla

Research published in Industrial Crops and Products examined the properties of vanilla oil microencapsulated by various shell materials including a new jackfruit seed-derived starch material (JM). Additional microencapsulates included chitosan (CM) and b-cyclodextrin (bM). Effects on yield, encapsulation efficiency, storage stability and slow-release potential were compared.

The yields and encapsulation efficacy of bM, CM and JM were all comparable. Additionally, peroxide values and aroma intensity assessments showed the JM microcapsules had good storage stability and slow-release potential; with a shelf life of up to 250 days. In contrast, the shelf life of bM and CM only reached to 160 days. The authors concluded the encapsulation efficacy, storage stability and slow-release potential of JM outperformed bM and CM, although the yield of JM was not outstanding.1

Beefing Up Beef Flavor Detection

A report published in Meat Science describes an electrochemical sensor for the detection of beef taste. The sensor was based on polyvinyl chloride/polypyrrole (PVC/PPy) polymerized onto the surface of a platinum (Pt) electrode. This produced a Pt-PPy-PVC film.

Using electrochemical methods, the sensor was well-characterized by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and cyclic voltammetry (CV). The sensor was used to detect 10 rib-eye beef samples and its accuracy was validated by sensory evaluation and ion detection. Using cluster analysis, the authors found the sensor showed a high degree of association of electrochemical detection and sensory evaluation, for a fast and precise sensor for beef taste detection.2

Hollow Salt

According to work published in Food & Function, there is still a high demand for reducing the amount of salt  in processed food without compromising taste. As such, a hollow salt particle was designed and fabricated via spray-drying. The hollow particles have a structure comprised of individual crystallites of salt connected to form the shell that is stabilized by natural quillaja saponin-coated nanodroplets.

According to the authors, this strategy enhances the overall perception of saltiness but reduces the salt consumption in foods. These hollow salt particles are anticipated to be developed into novel vehicles for not only improving flavor with reduced sodium intake, but also for the delivery of hydrophobic bioactives in food systems.3

Scent Perception in Men vs. Women

Research published in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine shows there are major differences in how men and women perceive scent. Here, the electroencephalographic (EEG) activity of 10 healthy males and females was compared in response to their inhaling the isomeric aroma components (+)-a-pinene and (+)-b-pinene, which have different fragrance qualities.

Results indicated the inhalation of (+)-a-pinene and (+)-b-pinene produced different EEG power spectrum changes as well as affected different brain regions in male vs. female participants. In women, absolute alpha, beta and high beta brain activities significantly (p < 0.05) increased during the inhalation of (+)-a-pinene. In the case of (+)-b-pinene, absolute fast alpha and high beta activities also significantly increased.

In men, significant decreases in absolute brain waves such as theta, beta, low beta and high beta were observed while inhaling (+)-a-pinene; no significant changes were observed with (+)-b-pinene. The authors noted the different EEG activities of these isomers might be due to the different fragrance qualities and structural arrangements.4

Multisensory Cues and Gaming

Finally, a report in Multimedia Tools and Applications explored the use of olfactory stimulation to improve the quality of learning experiences and facilitate knowledge acquisition in a gaming context. In this paper, a multisensory educational game, “Fragrance Channel,” was used to investigate how enabling olfaction could contribute to users’ learning performance, engagement and quality of experience.

Results were obtained after experiencing Fragrance Channel in the presence and absence of olfactory feedback on both a mobile device and a personal computer. A knowledge test administered before and immediately after showed that integration of olfaction with the educational game led to an improvement in performance under all the explored conditions. Subjective measurements carried out after the olfactory experience also showed the students enjoyed the scenario and appreciated it as being relevant.5

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