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Retro-nasal aroma release is correlated with variations in the in-mouth air cavity volume after empty deglutition.

Abstract : We hypothesized that interindividual differences in motor activities during chewing and/or swallowing were determining factors for the transfer of volatile aroma from the in-mouth air cavity (IMAC) toward the olfactory mucosa. In our first experiment, we looked for changes in IMAC volume after saliva deglutition in 12 healthy subjects. The mean IMAC volume was measured after empty deglutition using an acoustic pharyngometer device. Based on the time course of the IMAC volume after swallowing, we discerned two groups of subjects. The first group displayed a small, constant IMAC volume (2.26 mL ±0.62) that corresponded to a high tongue position. The second group displayed a progressive increase in IMAC (from 6.82 mL ±2.37 to 22.82 mL ±3.04) that corresponded to a progressive lowering of the tongue to its resting position. In our second experiment, we investigated the relationship between IMAC volume changes after deglutition and the level of aroma release at the nostril. For this purpose, the release of menthone was measured at the nostril level in 25 subjects who consumed similar amounts of a mint tablet. The subjects were separated into two groups corresponding to two levels of menthone release: high (H) and low (L). The mean volume of IMAC was measured during and after empty deglutition. Group H displayed a small, constant amplitude of IMAC volume change after deglutition, while Group L displayed a progressive increase in IMAC. It is likely that Group H continuously released the aroma through the veloglossal isthmus as the mint was consumed, while Group L trapped the aroma in the oral cavity and then released it into the nasal cavity upon swallowing. These results show that the in vivo aroma release profile in humans depends closely on the different motor patterns at work during empty deglutition.
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Anne Mishellany-Dutour, Alain Woda, Hélène Labouré, Pierre Bourdiol, Pauline Lachaze, et al.. Retro-nasal aroma release is correlated with variations in the in-mouth air cavity volume after empty deglutition.. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2012, 7 (7), pp.e41276. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0041276⟩. ⟨hal-00723236⟩

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