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Taking a cue from breath fresheners, researcher develops new method for taste testing
Date:6/10/2008

Using the same concept behind commercial breath-freshening strips, a Temple University researcher has developed a new, easier method for clinical taste testing.

Greg Smutzer, director of the Laboratory of Gustatory Psychophysics in the Biology Department of Temple's College of Science and Technology (http://www.temple.edu/biology), has created taste strips similar to breath-freshening strips, but these edible strips contain one of the five basic tastes that are detected by humans sweet, sour, salty, bitter and monosodium glutamate, which is also known as umami taste.

This research, "A Test for Measuring Gustatory Function," has been published in the June 2 online "Ahead of Print" edition of The Laryngoscope (http://www.thelaryngoscope.com), the journal of the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society.

The idea was born when a lab equipment repairman who was a friend of Smutzer's stopped by the laboratory more than four years ago and offered him one of the new breath-freshening strips.

He said, "You have to try one of these," Smutzer recalled. "I had never seen the strips before. But as soon as he showed them to me, one of my first thoughts was, this technology would be ideal for a taste test because it is so simple to use."

Smutzer starts by using a combination of two polymers, pullulan and Methocel. His strips are created by dissolving the polymers in the form of powders in warm water and then allowing the solution to cool to room temperature. Added into the solution is a small amount of a taste stimulus that will give each strip the desired taste: sodium chloride for salty, sucrose for sweet, ascorbic acid for sour, quinine for bitter, and monosodium glutamate for umami taste.

Once the solution is cool, it is then poured onto Teflon-coated pans and allowed to dry five to six hours in orde
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Contact: Preston M. Moretz
pmoretz@temple.edu
215-204-4380
Temple University
Source:Eurekalert

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