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New Molecular and Cell-based Approaches to assess Food Astringency and Bitterness

Objective

Taste properties are vital to humans: they impact human survival, nutrition, health and well-being. The problem of unpleasant taste properties, namely bitter- or astringent-tasting compounds is emerging in many diverse research fields. Beyond the obvious interest in food science, nutrition, and in the improvement/selection of crops, also human taste disorders and drug discovery domains could also benefit from research on astringency and bitterness. Crossing the boundaries among different fields, BeTASTy goes beyond the current state-of-the-art of food-oriented researches to respond to the prominent challenges on astringency and bitterness. This proposal will provide an in-depth mechanistic and functional understanding into the MAIN PHYSICAL-CHEMICAL EVENTS triggering the physiological and neural perception of astringency by an innovative approach considering the main oral key pieces namely salivary proteins, epithelia and emphasizing the role of mechanoreceptors on that sensation. BeTASTy will also unveil how, for some compounds, astringency and bitterness CAN GO TOGETHER by an innovative all-in-one model. Additionally, the individual features that account for sensory differences will be deepened by a pioneering approach based on human organoids and electroencephalography. The final goal, will be the creation of cutting-edge CELL-FREE BIOSENSORS based on the identified orally active mechano- and bitter taste receptors to assess astringency and bitterness respectively, and by overcoming the main drawbacks of the existing (cell-based) ones. Endowed with a truly differentiated and disruptive character, this groundbreaking project will engage food chemistry, biochemistry, neuroscience, sensory analysis and biotechnology fields of research to outdo the state-of-the-art. Only an ambitious and multidisciplinary proposal will yield scientific breakthroughs on the BIOCHEMICAL-NEURAL-PERCEPTUAL TRIAD EVENTS of these taste properties which will eventually enable to tailor them

Coordinator

REQUIMTE REDE DE QUIMICA E DE TECNOLOGIA ASSOCIACAO
Net EU contribution
€ 1 499 791,00
Address
Praca Coronel Pacheco 15 6 Andar
4060-453 Porto
Portugal

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Region
Continente Norte Área Metropolitana do Porto
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00