Studying Thermal Tasters
We are so excited to be sponsoring a PhD Student! For the next three years Candy, studying at Nottingham University, will be investigating the subject of thermal taster status and its impact on preference and taste acceptability. The discovery of the phenomena of the thermal taster is a relatively recent one, first reported by Cruz and Green in 2000. Essentially a thermal taster (TT) is someone who detects a taste sensation when their tongue is either heated or cooled, when no taste stimulus is present! The temperature of the tongue is manipulated using a special thermode device.
Cruz and Green found that warming the tongue can evoke sweetness, while cooling it can evoke sourness and/or saltiness. Some individuals can experience both heat-related sweetness and cold-related saltiness, while others only experience one or the other. People who don't perceive any difference in taste due to heating or cooling are known as Thermal non-Tasters (TnTs).
Candy's work will focus on comparing the responses of a group of TTs and TnTs to a range of taste, odour and oral stimuli.
This is fascinating work and has potentially huge impact for the design of products especially those designed to be eaten cold such as beer and ice – cream. We will keep you updated.