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Investigating the oronasal contributions to metallic perception

Skinner, M.; Lim, M.; Tarrega, Amparo; Ford, Rebecca A.; Linforth, Rob S.T.; Thomas, A.; Hort, Joanne


M. Skinner

M. Lim

Amparo Tarrega

Rob S.T. Linforth

A. Thomas

Joanne Hort


Metallic taints elicited when consuming food can be unpleasant for the consumer, and are therefore problematic to food manufacturers. Although metallic has been proposed as a taste in the past, evidence remains inconclusive. This study investigates the oral and nasal contributions to metallic perception using sensory evaluation and headspace analysis using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS). When sniffing the headspace over divalent salt solutions some were discriminated from water. GC-MS did not detect volatiles in the sample headspace, one hypothesis being that sample volatiles react with phospholipids in the nasal cavity and it is lipid oxidation products which are perceived. Copper sulphate was reported as metallic when tasted with the nose occluded to eliminate retronasal perception, suggesting a gustatory or trigeminal mechanism may be involved. This work indicates orthonasal stimulation is involved in metallic perception, and contributes to the ongoing debate over metallic being a taste, trigeminal or flavour response.


Skinner, M., Lim, M., Tarrega, A., Ford, R. A., Linforth, R. S., Thomas, A., & Hort, J. (2017). Investigating the oronasal contributions to metallic perception. International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 52(6), 1299-1306.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 6, 2017
Online Publication Date Apr 26, 2017
Publication Date 2017-06
Deposit Date Mar 7, 2017
Publicly Available Date Apr 26, 2017
Journal International Journal of Food Science & Technology
Print ISSN 0950-5423
Electronic ISSN 1365-2621
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 52
Issue 6
Pages 1299-1306
Keywords Divalent salts, Metallic, Orthonasal, Retronasal, Taste, Trigeminal
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Skinner, M., Lim, M., Tarrega, A., Ford, R., Linforth, R., Thomas, A. and Hort, J. (2017), Investigating the oronasal contributions to metallic perception. Int J Food Sci Technol. doi:10.1111/ijfs.13417 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


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