WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2011 — The wonderful world of flavor chemistry — the science that helps explain why people like or dislike certain foods — is the topic of the latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) award-winning Bytesize Science podcast series.
This episode explains that numerous chemical compounds contribute to the flavor of food. Chocolate, for instance, has about 300 flavor compounds, and coffee beans contain more than 800. Identifying these chemicals can help create a variety of artificial flavors that are used in many food products, including potato chips, ice cream, chewing gum and soft drinks.
People differ in preferences for foods largely because of taste. But other factors come into play, as well. These include the smell of food, its texture, color and temperature. They all contribute to what is more generally known as the “flavor” of food and help people decide whether food is delicious, good, unpleasant or simply unpalatable.
ChemMatters has been connecting chemistry to our everyday lives for the past 28 years. Published quarterly by the ACS Office of High School Chemistry, each issue contains articles about the chemistry of everyday life and is of interest to high school students and their teachers. To request a free copy of ChemMatters, go to http://fs7.formsite.com/ACSEducation/ChemMatters/index.html.
The Bytesize Science series is produced by the ACS Office of Public Affairs.