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IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

How Saliva Changes the Flavor of Food

• arclein

The substance is not very salty, which allows people to taste the saltiness of a potato chip. It's not very acidic, which is why a spritz of lemon can be so stimulating. The fluid's water and salivary proteins lubricate each mouthful of food, and its enzymes such as amylase and lipase kickstart the process of digestion. This wetting also dissolves the chemical components of taste, or tastants, into saliva so they can travel to and interact with the taste buds. Through saliva, says Jianshe Chen, a food scientist at Zhejiang Gongshang University in Hangzhou, China, "we detect chemical information of food: the flavor, the taste." Chen coined the term "food oral processing" in 2009 to describe the multidisciplinary field that draws on food science, the physics of food materials, the body's physiological and psychological responses to food, and more, a subject he wrote about in the 2022 Annual Review of Food Science and Technology. When people eat, he explains, they don't