This is the first of a set of three blogs dedicated to flavours and their application in livestock industry.
The acceptability of a food depends on the organoleptic properties and sensory. The organoleptic answer is due to the combination of sensations perceived. It exists confusion between “taste” and “flavour”. The differents “tastes” are limited and defined, the combinations of the “taste” are almost infinite. Flavour is equal to taste plus smell and the aspect is colour and texture.
The selection of food and the perception pleasant or unpleasant depends of factors as age, the previous experiences or prenatal or congenital circumstances.
The taste sensation is considered a multidimensional phenomenon of 5 primary sensations: bitter, sweet, acid, salty and umami. Several studies demonstrate that a taste bud from the "sweet" region also respond to other tastes but in a minor way. The information of the taste is collected in the tongue, in their specialized nervous receptors: grouped in taste buds. Also, there are taste buds in palate, pharynx and in the top of the esophagus.
Because of the sophisticated olfactory sense, the living beings modify their behaviour and establish the taste for certain environments and foods. The olfactory nerve is exclusive of the vertebrate animals. The olfactory sense also has an important reproductive and social function.
For example, pigs have a high sensibility to umami flavour, ten times bigger than to sweet taste. Mammals have more accuracy detecting, by the flavour, amino acids than sugar and a best appetency by dietetic protein than by carbohydrates. The food have great variety of toxins and antinutritional factors, most of them detected as bitter. In swine, the acid taste has a great importance because of the food rich in organic acids. The sensitive smell, in mammals, is the most important sense in the flavour perception and in acceptation and consumption of food. Most of young animals have preference by sweet food (energy suppliers) and adults prefer salty (mineral salts suppliers) or umami (protein suppliers).