Timeintensity methods

Sensory attributes are not perceived instantaneously and can change in intensity with time in the mouth. Time-intensity methods are used to measure intensity of a specific attribute as a function of time in the mouth. They have been used to investigate the temporal behaviour of tastants, such as sweet and bitter molecules, and to investigate the release of volatile flavour materials from foods (Overbosch et al., 1991; Shamil et al., 1992) during mastication. Such studies are particularly important in the reformulation of foods that results in structural modifications, and in changes that can occur on storage. These structural modifications are often accompanied by textural changes, and these often result in complex perceptual phenomena that are direct consequences of the changes in texture with time producing different flavour release phenomena. The use of time-intensity for flavour measurement is well established, and there have also been studies to measure textural changes using the method (Burger, 1992; Duizer et al., 1993).

A major limitation of time-intensity methods is that only a single attribute can be tracked with time, and, if a number of important attributes are thought to be time-dependent, separate sessions are needed for each attribute. Difficulties encountered in time-intensity profiling prompted the development of a hybrid technique, progressive profiling (Jack et al., 1994). In this technique, assessors carried out a profile on a set of texture descriptors at each chew stroke over the mastication period. Such a method has a number of potential advantages: several attributes can be assessed in one session; scaling is reduced to a unidimensional process; and the most important aspects of the shape of a time-intensity curve are retained.

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