Wednesday, January 31, 2018Congresses

Giving cosmetics a taste to regulate the skin: a new formulation approach?

 LW © CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

If your tongue is the first organ you think about when it comes to taste perceptions, it is far from being the only body part with taste receptors. You can find them in other organs, but also in tissues, and even in the skin, where they have an influence on keratinocytes. At the 8th annual Jean-Paul Marty Days, Pr Loïc Briand, Research Director at INRA (French National Institute of Agricultural Research) and taste and taste receptor specialist, made an update on the most recent research and highlighted its perspectives for cosmetics.

Reading time
~ 10 minutes

We can all distinguish and differentiate four ‘primary’ fundamental flavours: sweet, bitter, acid, and savoury flavours, to which you can add umami, derived from the Japanese word that literally means ‘delicious’, and which is generated by certain amino acids like L-Glutamate.

Perception of flavours

We perceive flavours thanks to the papillae located on our tongues, which have buds (spherical clusters of about 150 cells) that lead to a crack soaked with saliva. It is the taste cells in these buds that express the different taste detectors.

The first step in perceiving a flavour is the solubilization of the ‘sapid’ molecules in the saliva. The activation of the taste detectors results in the release of a neuromediator and induces a nervous signal carried up to the brain: that is when you get the conscious perception of food taste.

Flavours and sensations

But the perception of taste in food cannot be summed up with the combination of the five primary flavours. Many other taste sensations are involved. Here are a few examples:
• Astringency, like that generated by fresh nuts or a wine rich in tannins
• Freshness, for example with mint and menthol
• Spicy flavours in mustard, pepper, or chilli …

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