Investigating protein and saliva interactions, impact on mucosal surfaces and any links to resulting mouthfeel

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: School of Food Science and Nutrition


With the increased awareness of wellbeing in consumers, the food industry faces the strongest ever pressure to satisfy the demand for healthier and more nutritious foods (e.g. low sugar/fat, high protein/fibre). This demand is not only driven by consumers but also health authorities. The growing ageing population also necessitates the development of food products that meet the requirements of these consumers from both a nutritional and sensory perspective. The addition or removal of ingredients from the food matrix leads to changes in the structure-and dynamic breakdown behaviour of the food material during oral processing, which ultimately influence sensory perception. Hence, the key challenge for product reformulation is to maintain consumer acceptability with respect to texture, mouthfeel and flavour. Food component interactions with saliva and mucosal surfaces during oral processing are considered to play a crucial role in determining the sensory experience.
Project aim: The aim of this project is to elucidate the functional role of different food components during oral processing and their interaction with the oral environment and how these roles may affect sensory perceptions. Of particular interest are proteins and their impact on mouthfeel, e.g. drying, powdery feel upon consumption of protein containing snacks. Hence, the focus is on understanding the interactions of proteins (e.g. milk / plant based) with saliva (e.a. hydration kinetics), impact on mucosal surfaces and anv links to resulting mouthfeel.
Approach: The project will take a staged approach to addressing the primary objective of the project, gradually building complexity and understanding of the interactions between protein and the oral environment,


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/S506813/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023
2284055 Studentship BB/S506813/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Frances Brown