Dr. Bartoshuk studies sensory perception of foods (e.g., taste, olfaction and irritation/pain). She and her students have developed new measurement techniques for quantifying sensations as well as the pleasure/displeasure these sensations evoke. Traditional sensory evaluation compares samples (e.g., is coffee A better than coffee B?). The new techniques permit valid comparisons of consumers (e.g., is coffee liked better by women than men?). Her lab discovered supertasters (individuals who experience unusually intense tastes) and studies the consequences of taste pathology (e.g., taste damage can lead to weight gain). Most recently, Dr. Bartoshuk has collaborated with horticulturists to connect sensory variation in fruit with variation in fruit palatability.
Industry Expertise (2)
Areas of Expertise (2)
Food Science & Human Nutrition
Sensory Perception of Food
Media Appearances (6)
Curious about the sense of smell and loss after COVID-19? UF can help
The Gainesville Sun online
Others, like flavor and scent projects with citrus, strawberries and tomatoes, done by Yu Wang, Linda Bartoshuk and Harry Klee, search for new compounds that help enhance sweetness or reduce bitterness, he said. Their findings could be harnessed to help reduce the amount of sugars added to juices, make children's medicine easier to swallow and up the appeal of healthy but less popular foods.
Could a distaste for broccoli indicate greater resistance to COVID-19?
National Geographic online
At Yale University in the 1990s, psychologist Linda Bartoshuk pioneered the study of genetic variations in taste perception. She coined the term “supertaster” to describe the 25 percent of people who are intensively sensitive to bitter flavors. Another 25 percent of people are “nontasters” who barely detect bitter flavors, and the remaining 50 percent are just “tasters”—those who register the bitterness but not to the degree that it’s distasteful.
This strange condition could explain why your tongue feels weird
Popular Science online
“The worst thing that can happen to a person in the taste system is to get a phantom; it’s very disruptive and very, very hard to live with,” says Linda Bartoshuk, an experimental psychologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “You can imagine how frightening it would be to wake up with something like a strong bitter taste in your mouth and not be able to get rid of it.”
Psychophysics, Smell and Taste / Women in Science
Talking Biotech Podcast radio
Dr. Linda Bartoshuk has been recognized as an expert on interactions between the smell, taste, psychology and the brain for many decades. While so important to our experiences, smell and taste are poorly understood by the general public. Dr. Bartoshuk explains some of these important nuances of how we sense the world around us, and how that integrates with perception and liking. In the second part we discuss her experiences as a woman navigating overt sexism, harassment and discrimination as she moved from high school, through her education and into her faculty positions– even as a recognized world expert and leader in her field.
How to Know If You’re a “Super Taster”
Mother Jones online
Linda Bartoshuk, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Florida’s Center for Smell and Taste, says super tasters tend to be pretty picky eaters and prefer to stick to bland food, which means they may have more in common with Dylan Matthews than with restaurant critics.
How loud does it hurt? Professor pushes alternative pain scale
NBC News online
University of Florida psychologist Linda Bartoshuk has a different idea: Try comparing your pain to the loudest sound you've heard, or the brightest light. Is it more like a telephone dial tone, or a train whistle? A night light, or sunlight? "Do you really think that everybody has the same '10' on the scale?" Bartoshuk asked this week during a presentation at the ScienceWriters2013 conference in Gainesville.
TasteStevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
Linda M Bartoshuk
2018 This chapter examines how taste and flavor help us survive. Omnivores (like humans) face a dilemma; we must select healthy foods and avoid poisons. An early belief in the innate ability to eat a healthy diet (“wisdom of the body”) gave way to our current understanding that taste is the true nutritional sense. A few simple substances (salt, glucose) necessary to solve immediate nutritional problems (sodium deficiency, low blood glucose) produce hard-wired liking. Most poisons are bitter and we are hard-wired to dislike them. Food flavor is a combination of taste and retronasal olfaction (odor volatiles perceived from the mouth). Retronasal olfactory stimuli are liked or disliked primarily through association with positive (e.g., calories) or negative (e.g., nausea) biological states. Unfortunately, hard-wired and acquired liking can lead to nutritional disorders. Taste evolved to help us survive, but can also lead to overeating with attendant health risks.
Farm to Sensory Lab: Taste of Blueberry Fruit by Children and AdultsJournal of Food Science
Julie A Mennella, Thomas A Colquhoun, Nuala K Bobowski, James W Olmstead, Linda Bartoshuk, Dave Clark
2017 The average American child eats fewer fruits than recommended. Although taste is the primary motivator for food intake among children, little research has systematically measured children's liking of fruit and determined whether their preferences differ from adults. We phenotyped 49 children and their mothers to determine: (1) their liking of the taste of 3 blueberry cultivars (“Arcadia,” “Keecrisp,” and “Kestrel”) from 2 harvests for which total soluble solids were determined using a handheld Brix refractometer; (2) the association between liking and blueberry sugar content; and (3) the most preferred level of fructose, one of the primary sugars in blueberry fruit. Multiple methods, identical for all participants, assessed which cultivar they liked best. Dietary intake, determined via 24-h dietary recall, revealed most children (73%) and adults (92%) did not meet dietary guidelines for fruit intake. We found that during the 1st harvest, Keecrisp was sweeter by 4° Brix than either Arcadia or Kestrel and was the cultivar most preferred by both children and adults. For the 2nd harvest, mothers liked each of the cultivars equally, but children preferred Arcadia, which was 2° Brix sweeter than the other 2 cultivars. Like other sugars, children's most preferred concentration of fructose was significantly higher than that of adults. In sum, children appear to be more sensitive to smaller variations in sweetness than are adults. Identifying drivers of fruit preference and assessing children's liking for whole fruits are important steps in developing strategies to increase fruit consumption among children.
Consumer Acceptability of Fresh-Market Muscadine GrapesJournal of Food Science
Kelly Brown, Charles Sims, Asli Odabasi, Linda Bartoshuk, Patrick Conner, Dennis Gray
2016 The objective of this research was to investigate the acceptability of muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia) genotypes (cultivars and selections) and to correlate overall liking to other quality measurements to determine the main drivers of liking. Twenty-two genotypes grown at the Univ. of Georgia–Tifton Campus were evaluated. Four retail commercial grape genotypes (Vitis vinifera and “Concord”) were also evaluated for comparison. Panelists familiar with muscadine grapes used the hedonic general labeled magnitude scale (HgLMS, –100 = strongest disliking of any kind ever experienced, +100 = strongest liking of any kind ever experienced) to rate overall liking and the liking of appearance, flavor, pulp texture, and skin texture. Puncture testing was done to assess grape berry texture, and compositional attributes soluble solids and pH were also measured. The sensory results indicated that the grapes were variable with overall liking scores from 12.2 to 39.6. The factors highly correlated with overall liking scores were muscadine flavor, pulp and skin liking, while a significant negative correlation was found between skin liking and skin texture and mechanical texture measures. The muscadine grapes with the highest overall liking scores were Ga. 5-1-34 and Ga. 2-8-21. Principal component analysis confirmed that grapes with a thinner skin and a higher pH tended to group around overall liking and flavor points. These results indicate that even among panelists familiar with muscadine grapes, skin thickness is a negative characteristic. Breeding for thinner skins may be a positive step in muscadines gaining a more widespread appeal in the fresh fruit market.
Oral sensory nerve damage: Causes and consequencesReviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders
Derek J Snyder, Linda M Bartoshuk
2016 Oral sensations (i.e., taste, oral somatosensation, retronasal olfaction) are integrated into a composite sense of flavor, which guides dietary choices with long-term health impact. The nerves carrying this input are vulnerable to peripheral damage from multiple sources (e.g., otitis media, tonsillectomy, head injury), and this regional damage can boost sensations elsewhere in the mouth because of central interactions among nerve targets. Mutual inhibition governs this compensatory process, but individual differences lead to variation in whole-mouth outcomes: some individuals are unaffected, others experience severe loss, and some encounter sensory increases that may (if experienced early in life) elevate sweet-fat palatability and body mass. Phantom taste, touch, or pain sensations (e.g., burning mouth syndrome) may also occur, particularly in those expressing the most taste buds. To identify and treat these conditions effectively, emerging clinical tests measure regional vs. whole-mouth sensation, stimulated vs. phantom cues, and oral anatomy. Scaling methods allowing valid group comparisons have strongly aided these efforts. Overall, advances in measuring oral sensory function in health and disease show promise for understanding the varied clinical consequences of nerve damage.
Physiology of Taste DisordersCurrent Otorhinolaryngology Reports
Linda M Bartoshuk, Derek J Snyder
2016 Taste is integrated with retronasal olfaction in the brain to form flavor. Taste nerves are vulnerable to peripheral damage (e.g., otitis media, tonsillectomy, head injury, chemotherapy, radiotherapy), which can affect other oral sensations because of central interactions. Inhibition exerted by taste input governs this process, but individual differences make whole-mouth outcomes of regional nerve damage extremely variable: some individuals are unaffected, others experience severe loss, and some encounter intensified sensations that may elevate sweet-fat palatability and body mass. Patients may also report phantom taste (e.g., dysgeusia), touch, or pain sensations (e.g., burning mouth syndrome). To diagnose and treat these conditions effectively, emerging clinical tests measure regional versus whole-mouth sensation, phantoms, and oral anatomy. Scaling methods allowing valid group comparisons figure prominently in these efforts. Overall, advances in measuring oral sensory variation show strong potential for understanding clinical dysfunction.