Volume 20. Number 4. 2015

Could Fat Be The Sixth Taste?

In a study published in Chemical Senses, researchers from Purdue University posit that fat should be considered the sixth taste and can be called oleogustus. "Most of the fat we eat is in the form of triglycerides, which are molecules comprised of three fatty acids," said Richard D. Mattes, distinguished professor of nutrition science. "Triglycerides often impart appealing textures to foods like creaminess. However, triglycerides are not a taste stimulus. Fatty acids that are cleaved off the triglyceride in the food or during chewing in the mouth stimulate the sensation of fat."
The taste component of fat is often described as bitter or sour because it is unpleasant, but new evidence reveals fatty acids evoke a unique sensation satisfying another element of the criteria for what constitutes a basic taste, just like sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. According to the researchers, by building a lexicon around fat and understanding its identity as a taste, it could help the food industry develop better-tasting products and, with more research, help clinicians and public health educators better understand the health implications of oral fat exposure.
The researchers proposed "oleogustus" as a way to refer to the sensation. "Oleo" is a Latin root word for oily or fatty and "gustus" refers to taste. Mattes said the taste of fat should not be confused with the feel of fat, which is often described as creamy or smooth.
Because there are no familiar words to ask people to use to describe the taste of fat, the 102 study participants were given multiple cups of solutions, each containing a compound that tastes salty, sweet, umami, bitter, sour, or fatty. The participants were asked to sort the solutions into groups based on which had similar taste qualities. Odor, texture, and appearance were all controlled.
The panelists easily segregated sweet, salty, and sour samples confirming they understood the task. Initially, the fatty samples were grouped with bitter because bitter is the vernacular descriptor for unpleasant taste sensations. However, when asked to sort samples including bitter, umami, and fatty stimuli, panelists grouped the fatty acids together and separately from the other samples. Abstract. IFT The Weekly, 29 July 2015

Peanut Butter Matrices Protect Probiotic Bacteria During Simulated Gastrointestinal Passage

Further to much research into the importance of food in probiotic viability in the digestive tract, a recent study carried out at the University of Georgia has identified that peanut butter could protect probiotic bacteria during simulated gastrointestinal passage.
These microorganisms, when available in high enough numbers can be effective for example in the prevention, control and treatment of diarrhoea in pre-school children. But the availability of viable probiotic bacteria in high enough quantities can prove challenging due to the acidity of the human stomach.
On average, Streptococcus/Lactococcus species had the highest survivability followed by Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species. For example, after 120 mins (the end of the gastric phase) Lactobacillus cells from the control sample of the second probiotic product had decreased approximately twice as much as when the product was suspended in either full fat or reduced fat peanut butter, suggesting that peanut butter matrices could be used as a vehicle for probiotic delivery. RSSL food e-news.609 16-29 July 2015

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 with a 275-150 vote on July 23, 2015. The following day, the bill was received in the Senate. The Act states that the Food and Drug Administration must allow, but not require, GMO food to be labeled as GMO. Once passed as a law, it will set up a harmonized, science-based, voluntary food labeling standard. Crop Biotech Update.July 29, 2015

First Year Results of GM Camelina Field Trials Released

Scientists at Rothamsted Research have announced the first year results of the field-scale trial of Camelina oilseed plants genetically engineered (GE) to make omega-3 fish oils in their seeds. The new data demonstrate an important proof of concept that a plant can be engineered to synthesize beneficial fatty acids in seeds, providing hope for sustainable land-based sources of omega-3 fish oils, and decreasing pressure from the oceans.
Rothamsted scientists have successfully engineered Camelina sativa plants to produce non-native EPA and DHA, by introducing genes based on the DNA sequences found in photosynthetic marine organisms. Although previous experiments showed positive indications for the performance of this trait, the trial demonstrated its stability and the ability of the GM Camelina plants to synthesize useful quantities of fish oils without any negative effects on yield. The GM plants grown in the field did not show any phenotypic differences in the growth, flowering or seed-set when compared to the non-GM control plants.
For more information about the trials, read the news release at the Rothamsted Research website, or download the paper published in the journal Metabolic Engineering Communications. Crop Biotech Update. July 15, 2015.

Snippets - contributions are welcome. Edited and produced by Dr. B Cole. - / Fax 011 660 6444 with the help of the Northern Branch Committee.