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The taste of fat

Dransfield, Eric
Meat science 2008 v.80 no.1 pp. 37-42
meat cuts, meat composition, lipid content, meat quality, sensory properties, sensory evaluation, taste, off flavors, fatty acid composition, oxidation
For many years, fat in meats have been considered to convey quality although variations in the amounts of fat were often poorly correlated with eating qualities. The contribution of fat to taste is equally controversial, because a specific 'fat taste' perception had not been characterized. The innate attraction for fats may be due to one or more of orosensory, post-ingestive and metabolic signals. This literature review suggests that taste of lipids, particularly of oxidized PUFAs and their esters, may derive from a specific fatty acid perception mechanism in human lingual papillae. Interactions of the CD36 scavenger system with the many compounds derived from fats in cooked and processed meats offer an explanation for the variety of flavors and off-flavors found in meats. The genetic variations in the presence of receptor proteins could be one of the factors related to the differences in fat preferences in different countries and between genders.