The perception of fat taste has been proposed as the sixth basic taste, with fatty acids suggested as the responsible tastants. A significant distinction between traditional tastants and fatty acids is that tastants are generally considered odorless, while fatty acids may exhibit certain odors. The role of olfaction in the perception of fatty acids and tastants remains unclear.
This thesis explored the role of olfaction in perceiving and discriminate fat content in actual food matrices by answering three research questions: 1) Can humans perceive fatty acids (and tastants) through olfaction? 2) Can humans discriminate fat content in real food matrices? 3) What volatile compounds facilitate the olfactory discrimination between foods differing in fat content?