Journal Article

Oral Cavity Discrimination of Vapor-Phase Long-Chain 18-Carbon Fatty Acids

Naji A. Wajid and Bruce P. Halpern

in Chemical Senses

Volume 37, issue 7, pages 595-602
Published in print September 2012 | ISSN: 0379-864X
Published online March 2012 | e-ISSN: 1464-3553 | DOI:
Oral Cavity Discrimination of Vapor-Phase Long-Chain 18-Carbon Fatty Acids

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Linoleic, oleic, and stearic fatty acids, presented vapor-phase retronasally, were discriminable from blanks and each other, but the same concentrations, oral-cavity-only (OCO), were not discriminable from blanks. It remained possible that higher concentrations might be discriminable OCO. To evaluate this, participants attempted to discriminate undiluted linoleic, oleic, or stearic acids, vapor-phase OCO, from blanks. For each fatty acid, participants received 5 stimulus delivery containers (SDCs) in 2 trials; 4 SDC held blanks, the fifth, a fatty acid. As a “positive control” in 2 trials, participants received vapor-phase OCO peppermint extract and blanks. For all trials, the task was to select the 1 different SDC. It was found that the 1 different SDC was selected in 24% of stearic, 32% of linoleic, 47% of oleic acid, and in 92% of peppermint trials; discriminations (the 1 different SDC selected in both trials) occurred in 0%, 16%, 26%, and 84% of pairs, respectively. Correct selections for oleic acid differed from chance, P = 0.0004, but not for linoleic acid, P = 0.125, or stearic acid, P = 0.345, Bonferroni corrected. Vapor-phase oleic acid can be an oral cavity trigeminal stimulus, linoleic acid might be (uncorrected P = 0.0384), but vapor-phase stearic acid cannot be.

Keywords: 18-carbon fatty acids; human; long-chain fatty acids; oral cavity; smell; trigeminal

Journal Article.  5835 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Molecular and Cell Biology

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