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Oil perception-detection thresholds for varying fatty stimuli and inter-individual differences

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-09-01, 00:00 authored by J M Heinze, Andrew CostanzoAndrew Costanzo, Ingeborg Baselier, A Fritsche, M Lidolt, J Hinrichs, S Frank-Podlech, Russell KeastRussell Keast
Multiple lines of research have demonstrated that humans can perceive fat in the form of free fatty acids (FFAs). However, the dietary concentration of FFAs is generally very low and fat is mainly consumed as triacylglycerol (TAG). The aim of this study was to examine the perception of different fatty stimuli and possible associations between them. Therefore, detection thresholds for 4 fatty stimuli (oleic acid [FFA], paraffin oil [mixture of hydrocarbon molecules], canola oil [TAG-rich], and canola oil spiked with oleic acid [rich in TAGs and FFAs]) were determined in 30 healthy participants. Additionally, inter-individual differences in fat perception were examined. It was observed that oleic acid was perceivable at significantly lower concentrations than all other stimuli (P < 0.001). Similarly, canola oil with oleic acid was detectable at lower concentrations than canola oil alone (P < 0.001). Moreover, canola oil detection thresholds were significantly lower than paraffin oil detection thresholds (P = 0.017). Participants who were sensitive for low concentrations for oleic acid showed lower detection thresholds for canola oil with and without oleic acid, compared with participants that were less sensitive for oleic acid. The results of this study demonstrate that the higher the concentrations of FFAs in the stimuli, the lower the individual fat detection threshold. Moreover, participants being sensitive for lower concentrations of FFAs are also more likely to detect low concentrations of TAG-rich fats as it is found in the human diet.



Chemical senses






585 - 592


Oxford University Press


Oxford, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, The Author