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Understanding the sweetness response

The project has two main areas: an investigation of the solution chemistry of selected sweeteners in order to elucidate sweet solute-water interactions; a psychophysical investigation to explore the sensory properties of selected sweet molecules. The initial stages of the project have focused on intensive sensory panel screening and training. A range of sweeteners has been selected for investigation: sucrose (as a reference), maltitol (a nutritive sweetener), sodium cyclamate, neohesperidine dihydrochalcone (NHDHC) and aspartame (high potency artificial sweeteners). Mathematical modelling of sweetness-concentration dependence relationships suggested that aspartame and NHDCH should be more efficient sweetening agents than aspartame alone in still and carbonated beverages. Time intensity analyses showed that aspartame and NHDHC persist longer after tasting although cyclamate reaches its maximum sweetness intensity more rapidly than the other sweeteners. Sensory profiling using the Quantitative Descriptive Analysis Technique has provided a set of terms to describe flavour, mouthfeel and after-effects of the selected sweeteners. Primate studies in Zurich have shown so far that all species of primate tested preferred a sucrose solution to tap water. Aspartame is not sweet to New World monkeys but Old World monkeys, apes and humans show the same response to aspartame and sucrose. All primates, tested so far, prefer alitame which is closely related to aspartame.

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