Special Issue "Implications of Taste and Olfaction in Nutrition and Health"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutrition and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Melania Melis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, 09124 Cagliari CA, Italy
Interests: taste perception and individual differences; PROP tasting; taste modulation; electrophysiological recordings from human tongue; taste and health
Prof. Dr. Iole Tomassini Barbarossa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, 09124 Cagliari CA, Italy
Interests: taste perception; PROP tasting; individual differences; taste perception modulation; electrophysiological recordings; taste; body composition; nutrition; health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Giorgia Sollai
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
Interests: smell perception and individual variability; perception of odor-active compounds; Gas Chro-matography-Olfactometry technique; electrophysiological recordings; food choices and BMI
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Taste and olfaction are sensory modalities that act synergistically to orchestrate behaviours essential for survival, such as interactions with the environment, nutrient-rich food identification, and avoidance of noxious substances. Olfaction participates in long-range recognition, while taste mediates short-range detection and it the final mediator between acceptance or rejection. Taste and olfaction are fundamental determinants driving food preferences and therefore diet, nutrition, and health. Chemosensory perception plays important roles also in various extra-oral tissues where it mediates diverse physiological functions, the variations of which are associated with several human disorders. Critical investigation on how chemicals are detected at the periphery and how the information is conveyed and integrated at central level could shed additional light on processes such as food intake regulation, eating behaviour, and physio-pathological mechanisms. For this Special Issue on “Implications of Taste and Olfaction in Nutrition and Health,” we invite original research articles and comprehensive reviews that focus on taste and olfactory perception, food preferences, and their implications in nutrition and/or health outcomes.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • the molecular basis of taste and olfactory perception;
  • how pathological conditions, medical treatments, aging processes, or microbiota  affect taste and olfactory perception, eating behavior, or health;
  • physiological factors that impact taste and olfactory perception and food preferences in humans and clinical and pre-clinical models;
  • the genetic factors involved in taste and olfactory perception.

Dr. Melania Melis
Prof. Dr. Iole Tomassini Barbarossa
Prof. Dr. Giorgia Sollai
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • taste
  • smell
  • eating behavior
  • taste preferences
  • sensory nutrition
  • peripheral and central taste/smell processing
  • genetic variations in taste/smell
  • oral and retronasal processing
  • taste and smell changes related to adiposity/obesity/pathology

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Tongue Leptin Decreases Oro-Sensory Perception of Dietary Fatty Acids
Nutrients 2022, 14(1), 197; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu14010197 - 31 Dec 2021
Viewed by 166
Abstract
Leptin, an anorectic hormone, regulates food intake, energy expenditure and body weight. We assessed the implication of tongue leptin in the modulation of oro-sensory detection of dietary fatty acids in mice. The RT-PCR analysis showed that mRNA encoding leptin and leptin receptor (Ob-Rb) [...] Read more.
Leptin, an anorectic hormone, regulates food intake, energy expenditure and body weight. We assessed the implication of tongue leptin in the modulation of oro-sensory detection of dietary fatty acids in mice. The RT-PCR analysis showed that mRNA encoding leptin and leptin receptor (Ob-Rb) was expressed in mice taste bud cells (TBC). Confocal microscopic studies showed that the lipid sensor CD36 was co-expressed with leptin in mice TBC. Silencing of leptin or Ob-Rb mRNA in tongue papillae upregulated preference for a long-chain fatty acid (LCFA), i.e., linoleic acid (LA), in a two-bottle paradigm in mice. Furthermore, tongue leptin application decreased the preference for the LCFA. These results suggest that tongue leptin exerts an inhibitory action on fatty acid preference. In isolated mice TBC, leptin decreased LCFA-induced increases in free intracellular calcium concentrations, [Ca2+]i. Leptin and LCFA induced the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and STAT-3 and there were no additive or opposite effects of the two agents on the degree of phosphorylation. However, leptin, but not the LCFA, induced phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI-3-K)-dependent Akt phosphorylation in TBC. Furthermore, leptin induced hyperpolarization, whereas LCFA induced depolarization in TBC. Our study demonstrates that tongue leptin exerts an inhibitory action on oro-sensory detection of a dietary fatty acid by interfering with Ca2+ signaling and membrane potential in mice TBC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Taste and Olfaction in Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Self-Reported Olfactory Dysfunction and Diet Quality: Findings from the 2011–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
Nutrients 2021, 13(12), 4561; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13124561 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 638
Abstract
We identified associations between self-reported olfactory dysfunction (OD) and dietary attributes in participants aged ≥40 years (n = 6,356) from the nationally representative 2011–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The chemosensory questionnaire and 24-h dietary recalls were administered by trained [...] Read more.
We identified associations between self-reported olfactory dysfunction (OD) and dietary attributes in participants aged ≥40 years (n = 6,356) from the nationally representative 2011–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The chemosensory questionnaire and 24-h dietary recalls were administered by trained interviewers. OD was defined as self-report of either smell problems in the last year, worse smell relative to age 25, or perceiving phantom odors. Dietary outcomes included Healthy Eating Index 2015 score (HEI) with adequacy and moderation components (higher scores indicated higher diet quality), dietary diversity, energy density, and intake of major food groups. Survey-weighted linear regression models estimated OD–diet associations, adjusting for socio-demographic, lifestyle, and clinical factors. Adjusted mean difference (95% CI) between those with versus without OD, showed that adults with OD had significantly lower HEI moderation score (−0.67 (−1.22, −0.11)) and diets higher in energy density (0.06 (0.00, 0.11)), and percent energy from saturated fat (0.47 (0.12, 0.81)), total fat (0.96 (0.22, 1.70)), and added sugar (1.00 (0.33, 1.66)). Age and sex-stratified analyses showed that younger females (40–64 years) primarily accounted for the associations with diet quality and total/saturated fat intake. These findings inform dietary screening and recommendations for adults who report OD, including those experiencing transient or persistent smell loss with COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Taste and Olfaction in Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Brow and Masticatory Muscle Activity Senses Subjective Hedonic Experiences during Food Consumption
Nutrients 2021, 13(12), 4216; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13124216 - 24 Nov 2021
Viewed by 410
Abstract
Sensing subjective hedonic or emotional experiences during eating using physiological activity is practically and theoretically important. A recent psychophysiological study has reported that facial electromyography (EMG) measured from the corrugator supercilii muscles was negatively associated with hedonic ratings, including liking, wanting, and valence, [...] Read more.
Sensing subjective hedonic or emotional experiences during eating using physiological activity is practically and theoretically important. A recent psychophysiological study has reported that facial electromyography (EMG) measured from the corrugator supercilii muscles was negatively associated with hedonic ratings, including liking, wanting, and valence, during the consumption of solid foods. However, the study protocol prevented participants from natural mastication (crushing of food between the teeth) during physiological data acquisition, which could hide associations between hedonic experiences and masticatory muscle activity during natural eating. We investigated this issue by assessing participants’ subjective ratings (liking, wanting, valence, and arousal) and recording physiological measures, including EMG of the corrugator supercilii, zygomatic major, masseter, and suprahyoid muscles while they consumed gel-type solid foods (water-based gellan gum jellies) of diverse flavors. Ratings of liking, wanting, and valence were negatively correlated with corrugator supercilii EMG and positively correlated with masseter and suprahyoid EMG. These findings imply that subjective hedonic experiences during food consumption can be sensed using EMG signals from the brow and masticatory muscles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Taste and Olfaction in Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Increased Fat Taste Preference in Progranulin-Deficient Mice
Nutrients 2021, 13(11), 4125; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13114125 - 17 Nov 2021
Viewed by 567
Abstract
Progranulin deficiency in mice is associated with deregulations of the scavenger receptor signaling of CD36/SCARB3 in immune disease models, and CD36 is a dominant receptor in taste bud cells in the tongue and contributes to the sensation of dietary fats. Progranulin-deficient mice (Grn [...] Read more.
Progranulin deficiency in mice is associated with deregulations of the scavenger receptor signaling of CD36/SCARB3 in immune disease models, and CD36 is a dominant receptor in taste bud cells in the tongue and contributes to the sensation of dietary fats. Progranulin-deficient mice (Grn−/−) are moderately overweight during middle age. We therefore asked if there was a connection between progranulin/CD36 in the tongue and fat taste preferences. By using unbiased behavioral analyses in IntelliCages and Phenomaster cages we showed that progranulin-deficient mice (Grn−/−) developed a strong preference of fat taste in the form of 2% milk over 0.3% milk, and for diluted MCTs versus tap water. The fat preference in the 7d-IntelliCage observation period caused an increase of 10% in the body weight of Grn−/− mice, which did not occur in the wildtype controls. CD36 expression in taste buds was reduced in Grn−/− mice at RNA and histology levels. There were no differences in the plasma or tongue lipids of various classes including sphingolipids, ceramides and endocannabinoids. The data suggest that progranulin deficiency leads to a lower expression of CD36 in the tongue resulting in a stronger urge for fatty taste and fatty nutrition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Taste and Olfaction in Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Carbohydrate Taste Is Associated with Food Intake and Body Mass in Healthy Australian Adults
Nutrients 2021, 13(11), 3844; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13113844 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 582
Abstract
Background: The taste of carbohydrates may drive their intake. Sensitivity to carbohydrate taste varies among individuals, thus, it is important to understand how differences in sensitivity influence eating behaviour and body mass. Objective: The aims of this study were to assess associations among [...] Read more.
Background: The taste of carbohydrates may drive their intake. Sensitivity to carbohydrate taste varies among individuals, thus, it is important to understand how differences in sensitivity influence eating behaviour and body mass. Objective: The aims of this study were to assess associations among carbohydrate taste sensitivity, habitual and acute food intake, and body mass; as well as assess the reliability of the carbohydrate detection threshold (DT) test within and across days. Methods: Carbohydrate DT was assessed six times across three sessions in 36 healthy adult participants (22 female) using a three-alternate forced choice methodology. Moreover, 24 h diet records were completed on the days prior to testing sessions, and food intake at a buffet lunch was collected following each session. Anthropometry was also measured. Linear mixed regression models were fitted. Results: The DT test required at least three measures within a given day for good reliability (ICC = 0.76), but a single measure had good reliability when compared at the same time across days (ICC = 0.54–0.86). Carbohydrate DT was associated with BMI (kg/m2: β = −0.38, p = 0.014), habitual carbohydrate intake (g: β = −41.8, p = 0.003) and energy intake (kJ: β = −1068, p = 0.019) from the 24-h diet records, as well as acute intake of a buffet lunch (food weight (g): β = −76.1, p = 0.008). Conclusions: This suggests that individuals who are more sensitive to carbohydrate are more likely to consume greater quantities of carbohydrates and energy, resulting in a greater body mass. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Taste and Olfaction in Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Odor–Taste–Texture Interactions as a Promising Strategy to Tackle Adolescent Overweight
Nutrients 2021, 13(10), 3653; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13103653 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 592
Abstract
The adolescence period is characterized by a considerable risk to weight gain due to the high consumption of food rich in sugar. A promising strategy to reduce sugar consumption may lie in exploiting the ability of our senses to interact to each other [...] Read more.
The adolescence period is characterized by a considerable risk to weight gain due to the high consumption of food rich in sugar. A promising strategy to reduce sugar consumption may lie in exploiting the ability of our senses to interact to each other (cross-modal interactions). The aims were to investigate the cross-modal interactions and gustatory function in normal-weight and overweight adolescents. Fifty adolescents (25 overweight and 25 normal-weight) were involved. Subjects rated liking and attribute intensity in pudding samples obtained by adding vanilla aroma (0.1%; 0.3%), butter aroma (0.05%; 0.1%) or a thickener agent (1%; 1.5%) to a base formulation. The gustatory function was also measured through the “taste strips” methodology. Overweight adolescents were found to have a significantly (p < 0.001) worse ability to correctly identify all tastes. Cross-modal interactions occurred differently according to their body mass index, with a significant increase (p < 0.05) in sensory desirable characteristics (e.g., sweet and creaminess) due to aroma addition, especially in overweight subjects. Furthermore, butter aroma significantly increased hedonic responses only in overweight subjects. Tricking our senses in the way of perceiving sensory attributes could be a promising strategy to develop innovative food formulations with a reduced sugar amount, which will lead to a potential decrease in caloric intake and help to tackle the obesity epidemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Taste and Olfaction in Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Does Responsiveness to Basic Tastes Influence Preadolescents’ Food Liking? Investigating Taste Responsiveness Segment on Bitter-Sour-Sweet and Salty-Umami Model Food Samples
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2721; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13082721 - 07 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 913
Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the relationships between taste responsiveness and food liking in preadolescents. Model food samples of grapefruit juice (GF) and vegetable broth (VB) modified with four additions of sucrose and sodium chloride, respectively, were employed. Intensity perception [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to investigate the relationships between taste responsiveness and food liking in preadolescents. Model food samples of grapefruit juice (GF) and vegetable broth (VB) modified with four additions of sucrose and sodium chloride, respectively, were employed. Intensity perception for sweetness, sourness, and bitterness were measured in GF while saltiness and umami were measured in VB. The children (N = 148) also completed food choice, familiarity, stated liking and neophobia questionnaires. The test was conducted at school, with instructions provided remotely via video call. Four segments were defined differing in basic taste responsiveness. Segments and sucrose concentrations significantly affected liking for GF, while no significant effect of segments and sodium chloride concentrations occurred on liking for VB. An increasing sucrose concentration was positively associated with liking for GF only in the segment with low responsiveness to bitter and sour tastes. No significant differences across segments were found for food choice, familiarity, stated liking, and neophobia. Conclusively, relationships between taste responsiveness and liking are product and basic taste-dependent in addition to being subject-dependent. Strategies to improve acceptance by using sucrose as a suppressor for warning sensations of bitterness and sourness can be more or less effective depending on individual responsiveness to the basic tastes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Taste and Olfaction in Nutrition and Health)
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