guides & articles

Related listings

Latest Postings

Subscribe to the hottest news, latest promotions & discounts from STClassifieds & our partners

I agree to abide by STClassifieds Terms and Conditions

Health, Beauty & Fashion

Does durian smell less pungent to an older nose?

THE National University of Singapore (NUS) is embarking on the first study here into how people's perception of various food smells changes as they get older.
The Straits Times - April 12, 2013
| More
Does durian smell less pungent to an older nose?

THE National University of Singapore (NUS) is embarking on the first study here into how people's perception of various food smells changes as they get older.

It has received funding of $25,000 from local flavour manufacturer KH Roberts, which intends to use the findings to develop flavours to entice the elderly.

Many people lose their sensitivity to smell as they age; the exact causes are poorly understood. As their sense of smell deteriorates, often so does their appetite.

But the NUS' research has implications beyond simply making food more tasty for them.

A 2011 study by Tan Tock Seng Hospital found that one in three elderly people were at high risk of malnutrition. Many did not have a balanced diet, in part because they enjoyed their food less.

This often leads to conditions such as reduced muscle mass and strength, and anaemia, said researcher Seow Yi Xin, from the university's food science and technology programme. "We have to find ways to make them eat again," she said, adding that smell is the most acute of all five senses when it comes to how we perceive flavour.

Ms Seow is seeking 300 participants aged between 21 and 80 for her study and will test their sensitivity to 10 specific odours from the citrus, spicy, minty, rancid, floral, earthy, smoky, nutty, savoury and fruity groups.

While similar studies have been done worldwide, this is the first to test single odours, rather than mixtures. This will make it easier for food technologists to know which specific odours to intensify, said Ms Seow.

Preliminary results from a smaller study she conducted last year indicated that the elderly struggle to retain their sense of floral smells such as roses, but had no problem detecting spicy and onion-type odours.

Interested participants should sign up at seowyx@nus.edu.sg

pre

PREVIOUS STORY
Antibiotics not the answer to allergies

divider