The Interplay of Amylase and Texture Perception: An Interactive Demonstration

Thursday, October 27  •  4:20–5:20 p.m.
Georgia 5-6

Moderator: John Smythe, Tate & Lyle

This workshop will demonstrate how conventional thinning/thickening mechanisms interact with the often overlooked impact of starch breakdown from the amylase in our saliva. After a brief introduction discussing genetic differences and how they impact sensory perception across a variety of perceptual modalities, the workshop will then focus on understanding how genetic differences can lead to perceptual differences in specific to amylase activity. Special focus will be given to how this effect can make traditional sensory measures of descriptive profiling difficult. Participants will taste various samples and rate them for gross time-intensity changes in thickness. Some samples will have no amylase active starches, and therefore are likely to be perceived similarly, while other samples will have easily digested starches that can greatly influence how they are perceived to breakdown in the mouth. In this process, the speakers hope to alert the participants of confounds on traditional sensory methods and encourage them to take a deeper look at why certain factors (like mouth thinning) are difficult, if not impossible, to emulate with instrumental methods. Additionally, participants will discuss novel techniques to understand phenomena that are difficult to get panelist alignment on. While this is of special interest in the case of amylase thinning as the properties of a product in the mouth can change in thickness, density, and even sweetness as starches are converted to simple sugars with amylase activity, the goal is to encourage researchers to consider other modalities as well.




John Hayes, Sensory Evaluation Center, Dept. of Food Science, College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University

Dr. John Hayes (Associate Professor, Penn State) runs a multifaceted research program that applies sensory science to a diverse range of problems, including chemosensation, genetics, and ingestive behavior, as well as optimization of oral and non-oral drug delivery systems. He has earned numerous international awards, including the Barry Jacobs Award for psychophysics, and the Ajinomoto Award for taste research, both from AChemS, the FQAP Research of the Future Award, and the Rose Marie Pangborn Sensory Scholarship.

John Smythe, Tate & Lyle

As the head of the sensory program at Tate & Lyle, John Smythe has been working closely with the texturants platform to understand the science of starches. In performing descriptive profiling of starch pastes and model systems in this role, it became clear that neither instrumental methods nor descriptive panels could fully model individual perception. Part of his role in the company is to take the understanding Tate & Lyle has developed over the past decades regarding starch behavior from the lab into practice by acting as a key member of the Tate & Lyle scientific education and outreach program. Having presented at various conferences on over the course of the year, this is a continuation of his role to help food scientists better understand the functionality of their ingredients relative to their perception.

Ann Colonna, Food Innovation Center

Ann Colonna received her B.S. degree in Biochemistry in 1997 from the University of Arizona and followed that with a culinary degree from the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado and Provence, France. She continued her education at the University of California, Davis where she earned an M.S. degree in Sensory Food Science in 2001 focusing on methods to mask the carry-over effects in the mouth from the astringency in wine. Ann is currently in her 15th year as the Sensory Program Manager at the Food Innovation Center in Portland, Oregon, an off campus Oregon State University Experiment Station. She assists industry clients with sensory and consumer testing and collaborates in mission oriented research designed to advance Northwest agriculture and food products.
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