Main content area

The Masking Effect of Sucrose on Perception of Bitter Compounds in Brassica Vegetables

Beck, Tove K., Jensen, Sidsel, Bjoern, Gitte K., Kidmose, Ulla
Journal of sensory studies 2014 v.29 no.3 pp. 190-200
Brassica, bitterness, cabbage, chemical analysis, consumer acceptance, cultivars, glucosinolates, goitrin, juices, quinine, sensory evaluation, sucrose, sweetness, taste
This study offers insight into how taste qualities interact in food. The influence of sucrose on the perceived bitter taste of sinigrin and goitrin (compounds naturally present in cabbage) was studied. A sensory panel evaluated the tastes of sucrose; the bitter compounds goitrin, sinigrin and quinine; and binary mixtures where each bitter compound was mixed with sucrose. The compounds were dispersed in water and in food model system consisting of white cabbage juice. The results were compared with those from sensory evaluation and chemical analysis of five white cabbage cultivars. Results showed that taste interactions occurred, and results from the liquid samples showed that sucrose had a masking effect on the bitter taste of sinigrin, goitrin and quinine. The perception of sweet taste depended on concentration and media. Examination of raw cabbage showed that bitterness correlated strongly with the total glucosinolate content, whereas sweetness correlated strongly with sucrose content. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: The bitter taste of Brassica vegetables is a sensory restraint for vegetable acceptance. However, reducing the content of bitter‐tasting glucosinolates (GLSs) in these vegetables is not the optimal solution as several studies demonstrate health beneficial effects associated with intake of GLSs. The sweet taste is a positive predictor for acceptance, and sugar is central for its ability to mask a taste perceived as bitter. This study provides a new approach for studying interactions between the perceived sweet and bitter taste of Brassica vegetables using three progressively more complex matrices. It is part of a larger study addressing sensory aspects of food choice with focus on bitter‐tasting vegetables, and in line with this knowledge about interaction effects between bitter and sweet‐tasting compounds naturally present in vegetables is crucial. Knowledge that might lead the way to maintain the vegetable's health benefits while also improving consumer acceptance and potentially increasing the intake.