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Effect of iron on taste perception and emotional response of sweetened beverage under different water conditions

Wang, Aili, Duncan, Susan E., Dietrich, Andrea M.
Food quality and preference 2016 v.54 pp. 58-66
acesulfame potassium, additives, beverages, calcium, drinking water, honey, ions, iron, magnesium, minerals, saccharin, sodium, sucralose, sucrose, sweetness, taste, water hardness
Although sweeteners are widely used additives in beverages, taste interaction between sweeteners and minerals in water is rarely reported. The objective was to investigate the influence of different concentrations of iron and water hardness on taste perception of sweetened beverages and characterize the corresponding emotional profiles. Taste interaction was developed by dissolving five natural and artificial sweeteners [sucrose, honey, sucralose, saccharin, and acesulfame potassium (ace-K)] into four synthetic waters [soft water (0mg Fe/L), moderate hard water (0.3mg Fe/L), hard water (1mg Fe/L) and very hard water (3mg Fe/L)], respectively. Sweet and metallic taste intensity of different combinations were compared by pairwise ranking tests. Acceptability and emotional response on sucrose sweetened beverage with and without the addition of iron was evaluated by 9-point hedonic score test and check-all-that-apply emotional term ballot. Iron (Fe2+) created metallic flavor in drinking water and produced bored and disgusted feelings for consumers. Other minerals such as Ca2+, Mg2+ and Na+ at subthresholds impacted taste perception of water. Sweetness of sweeteners was varied with different concentrations of minerals in water and with different types of sweeteners. High concentration of iron and water hardness significantly increased (p<0.05) the sweetness of sucrose, honey and ace-K. Sweet-metallic taste interaction between sucrose and ferrous ions significantly (p<0.05) increased the acceptance of very hard water (3mg Fe/L), and created a unique emotional profile- “mild”. Distribution of emotional profiles could be different between samples with the same hedonic scores and provide more in-depth information than acceptance test.