Discovery & Characterization

The Flavor Center is committed to the advancement of analytical methods that improve our understanding of the compounds and mechanisms that contribute to flavor perception. FREC members discover novel and impactful flavor compounds through the use of our state-of-the-art instrumentation and comprehensive analytical approaches.  The multimodal and complex nature of flavor perception requires a breadth of analytical techniques.  Our targeted and untargeted methods are complementary, which enhances identification of new compounds and the primary drivers of perception - aroma, taste, chemesthetics, and mouthfeel. While targeted methods systematically break food into its individual components, untargeted methods utilize a system’s entire chemical composition to identify important differences in food. The versatility of the Center's analytical platform enables the discovery of novel flavor information by effectively profiling, identifying, and characterizing flavor differences.

  • Aroma is a major driver of consumer acceptability.  Our state-of-the-art aroma  analysis platform   (GC platform) helps tailor the aroma profile for optimal consumer liking and product success.
  • A growing body of research has pointed to the importance of taste in defining food flavor.  Our research techniques (LC platform) pinpoint the chemistry behind taste sensations and provide screening tools for the discovery of taste modulating compounds. By understanding how natural product chemistry can shape the flavor of food, we work with industry to accentuate, mask or eliminate flavors.  For example, compounds generated in cocoa after roasting have been reported to suppress bitterness perception.
  • Research and consumer experience are establishing the importance of texture in food (i.e. mouthfeel).  We have pioneered new ways to understand food mouthfeel that go beyond traditional methods.  New methods mean new insight and new streams of value.
  • Chemesthetic sensations are key attributes within food and beverage products that are poorly understood.  Characterization of the drivers of these attributes provides novel approaches for flavor optimization.