Fixing the Broken Tomato: What We Like and Why We Like It

Friday, February 15, 2013: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 206 (Hynes Convention Center)
Dietary goals for healthy eating involve greater consumption of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients and low in calories. Unfortunately, flavor of these products is an issue. Many healthy vegetables have undesirable flavor qualities, whereas many fruits have lost flavor as a consequence of intensive breeding for high yield and shelf-life. Efforts at flavor improvement have been confounded by the complexity of the trait; neither the chemistry of consumer preferences for a natural food product nor the underlying genetics are fully understood. This symposium focuses on the challenges associated with dietary improvement and efforts to unravel the complex chemistry of human flavor preferences. Efforts to establish the chemical recipe of a great-tasting tomato led to insights in how we integrate information from multiple sensory systems in the brain. Specific volatiles can enhance or suppress the perception of sweetness or saltiness. These fundamental insights into liking provide a roadmap for ways to improve our diets. It should be possible to reduce sugar and salt with volatiles without compromising consumer liking. In parallel, quality improvement of fruits and vegetables should increase demand, leading to healthier and more nutritious diets.
Harry J. Klee, University of Florida
Linda M. Bartoshuk, Ph.D., University of Florida
Julie Mennella, Monell Chemical Senses Center
Julie Mennella, Monell Chemical Senses Center
Linda M. Bartoshuk, Ph.D., University of Florida
Creating Sweet Taste in the Brain with Volatiles
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