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Odor may help improve taste of reduced-salt foods

A team of Japanese researchers found that the aroma of dried bonito stock–a traditional Japanese umami-rich stock made from bonito fish widely used in Japanese cooking–may help improve the taste of reduced-salt foods. These findings are published in the September issue of the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).
A traditional Japanese umami-rich stock, dried bonito stock, was reported to improve the palatability of a low-salt diet due to its characteristic aroma. Two pathways are available for the presentation of odours: the orthonasal and retronasal pathways. Aroma is perceived through the orthonasal pathway. In contrast, retronasal application of odours is thought to evoke different sensations from the orthonasal pathway, which is typically perceived as taste and modifies taste. Therefore, the effect of retronasal odour on salt-reduction might be different from that of aroma, that is, orthonasal odour. Thus, the effects of the retronasal odor of dried bonito stock on the enhancement and improvement of palatability upon salt reduction were examined using sensory evaluation. Moreover, the contributions to flavour expression and palatability of dried bonito stock were also investigated. Although the retronasal odour of dried bonito did not enhance saltiness, it improved the palatability of saltiness. In the presence of no tastants except 0.68% NaCl, a content 15% less than that of Japanese traditional soup, the retronasal odour of dried bonito generated umami, enhanced the suitability for dried bonito stock, and increased palatability. This indicates that the retronasal odour of dried bonito stock could improve the palatability of a salt-reduced diet. These findings can be applied to the development of new seasonings for improving the palatability of salt-reduced foods.
Practical Application
The retronasal odour of dried bonito stock improved the palatability of saltiness. In the presence of no tastants except 0.68% NaCl, the retronasal odour of dried bonito stock generated umami, enhanced the suitability for dried bonito stock, and increased palatability. The retronasal odour of dried bonito stock could be useful in the development of new seasonings for improving the palatability of salt-reduced food.

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