Cargill has received a patent for a breakthrough technology in taste tissue imaging and taste modification that is superior to the cell screening technology currently available in the flavor, food and beverage industries. The patented technology will allow Cargill to effectively discover taste modifiers – such as sweetness enhancers, bitterness blockers, savory enhancers and salt enhancers – and develop flavors that make food and beverage products taste better.
For example, Cargill's technology can help identify natural molecules and flavor ingredients that can enhance the sweet taste of reduced-calorie foods and beverages or block bitter notes from others, such as processed foods. The system can provide an unparalleled depth of data for identifying potential taste enhancers, blockers and modifiers.
The new imaging technology allows Cargill scientists to actually see and measure the cellular response of taste cells to taste stimulants. This means they can simultaneously observe the cellular responses and interactions of all of the taste modalities – sweet, bitter, salty, sour and umami.
Cargill applies the new technology to customers mainly through its flavor systems business. ''Cargill already had a wealth of knowledge and scientific resources in the flavor arena,'' said Thomas Niederkorn, Americas beverage category director, Cargill Flavor Systems. ''This new technology will allow us to expand our offerings into the 'next generation' of taste innovation.''
According to Chris Mallett, Cargill corporate vice president of research and development, Cargill's technology is revolutionary and differentiated in that it allows the company's scientists to observe the interactions of all five taste modalities at the same time.
''As a result, this technology allows us to predict taste sensation and so help our customers deliver better-tasting consumer products to the marketplace,'' said Mallett.
Cargill developed the technology in partnership with the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a Philadelphia-based non-profit independent scientific institute dedicated to research on taste and smell.
The technology will be discussed at a session of the International Symposium on Olfaction and Taste on July 25 in San Francisco.
Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural and risk management products and services. With 158,000 employees in 66 countries, the company is committed to using its knowledge and experience to collaborate with customers to help them succeed.