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Longitudinal study of taste identification of sensory panellists: Effect of Ageing, Experience and Exposure

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Kjetil Aune

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kjetil.aune@nofima.no

Food Quality and Preference ; Volume 18. p. 11 2007

Bitnes, Janna Myrvold; Martens, Harald; Ueland, Øydis; Martens, Magni

It is generally known that training increases taste performance, but at the same time several studies reveal major taste impairment with age. In the present study, the influence of Ageing, Experience and Exposure on taste identification performance, measured as number of correctly identified sweet, salt, sour, and bitter taste stimuli at low, medium and high concentrations, was studied annually from 1976 to 2003 for the sensory panel at Matforsk AS. This longitudinal study of taste identification performance of 21 sensory panellists showed that after correction for the general performance level for each participant, panellist age progress («Ageing»), number of years of panellist employment («Experience») and number of identification tests taken («Exposure») were all positively related to correct taste identification. PLS regression was employed in order to balance between estimation precision and interpretation specificity in light of the partial confounding between the explanatory variables Ageing, Experience and Exposure. The latter variable appeared to be the primary predictor of over-all taste identification performance as well as for taste identification of individual stimuli. The most prevalent mis-identifications (apart from misses involving water) were the low sucrose concentration reported as bitter taste, the low citric acid concentration reported as bitter taste, and the low caffeine/quinine concentration reported as sour. (C) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.