Flavour, Food-Oral-Processing, & Perception (FFOPP)

Photo équipe 1


M-C. Canivenc Lavier, G. Feron, J-M. Heydel, H. Labouré, A. Lavoisier, Y. Le Fur, E. Neyraud, J. Piornos Martínez, M. Schwartz, C. Sinding, R. Srivastava, A. Tromelin.

enginneers and technicians

H. Brignot, J. Chaloyard, C. Follot, Z. Hernandez, B. Houinsou Houssou, M. Lelievre, F. Ménétrier, J. Moreno, L. Nicolle, C. Potin, V. Senty-Ségault, C. Septier.

PhD students

V. Boichot, M-S. Hjeij, L. Joubert-Laurencin, G. Le Guillas, R. Monod, M. Muradova, A. Proskura.


F. Amahzoune, L. Ben Sussan, J. Wendling.

Our research group explores the mechanisms at the origin of sensory perception of foods using different approaches.
A molecular approach is conducted to identify and characterise odorant molecules and to understand their interaction with macromolecules of food or saliva, in simple or complex systems.
A psychophysical approach is used to understand the representation of mixtures of odorants and multimodal interactions.
A neurobiological approach is conducted to identify cerebral, sensitive and cognitive mechanisms of food mental representation. A biomechanical approach is applied to understand in vivo release mechanisms of flavour compounds in the mouth during food mastication, taking into account interindividual variability of physiological parameters, and to validate their impact by in vitro studies with a chewing simulator.
A biochemical and molecular approach is conducted to understand the role of saliva in sensory perception and consumer behaviour, more specifically by studying enzymatic activities, proteome, peptidome and metabolome.

Key words : Flavour, release, food, saliva, perceptive interactions, molecular structure, biochemistry, physiology.

Thematic : our aim is to better understand the mechanisms leading to the release of flavour compounds during food consumption and their impact on global sensory perception.

Research group in detail Open all tabs

Our main objectives are to explore the mechanisms at the origin of and influencing food mental representation in human. The studied mechanisms are the following: food composition and structure, food bolus formation, oral physiology, in-mouth molecular interactions involving flavour stimuli, mixture effects and multimodal interactions at the nervous central level.

Theme 1 : Sensory properties of flavour stimuli alone and in mixture (odorants, taste and trigeminal compounds), multimodal interactions

  • - Identification of the key compounds of food flavour
  • - Representation of mixtures of odorants (elemental versus configural perception)
  • - Understanding the mechanisms involved in multimodal interactions (physico-chemical, cognitive)

Theme 2 : Retention/release mechanisms of flavour stimuli (odour, taste) and their perception as a function of food and individual

  • - Role of oral physiological parameters and of their interindividual variability on food breakdown and flavour release
  • - Relationships between kinetics of in vivo flavour release and temporal perception
  • - Dissociate and prioritise in-mouth mechanims by in vitro approaches (chewing simulator, saliva reactor)
  • - Role of specific salivary proteins and enzymes in flavour release from food bolus and perception

Theme 3 : Molecular interactions between flavour compounds and biological targets

  • - Retention/release mechanisms of aroma compounds in food matrix (including with saliva) by molecular properties
  • - Interactions between flavour compounds and purified and well characterized salivary proteins, alone or in mixture
  • - Interactions between flavour compounds and oral mucosa

Theme 4 : Modulation of oral physiological parameters (stimulation, age, environment)

  • - Effect of salivary composition (proteins, enzymes) on food bolus formation
  • - Variability in saliva properties in relation to sensory variability (perception, preferences)
  • - Sources of biological variability: sensory stimulations, age, diet…

Analytical chemistry

analysis of flavour molecules and their in vivo and in vitro release.

Sensory analysis

perception of food and flavour compounds mixtures.


bucco-nasal cavity physiology and its functionalities (mastication, salivation, swallowing, …).


multivariate satistics, multibloc approaches, supervised and no-supervised classification.


mecanisms of multisensory integration.


salivary compounds involved in perception .

Food sciences

impact of food composition and structure on perception.

Tools in silico

Structure-activity and structure-property relationships studies of odorant molecules: QSAR/QSPR (Quantitative Structure-Activities/Properties Relationships) and 3D-QSAR models generations. Softwares: Discovery Studio (Accelrys-Biovia), Canvas (Schrödinger) QSARINS (QSAR-INSUBRIA).

Méthodologie in silico

Tools in vitro

The chewing simulator allows to reproduce the main functions of the oral cavity during oral processing for solid foods from data measured in vivo, it can be coupled with tools allowing measuring on-line flavour release as for example a mass spectrometer.

Méthodologie in vitro

A salivary reactor allows simulating saliva action during oral processing for liquid or semi-solid food products.

Méthodologie in vitro

Tools in vivo

Mouth movements and chewing activity are followed in 3D cinematic and by electromyography to extract relevant real time parameters.

Méthodologie in viv


Oral and nasal volumes are measured with a rhinopharyngometer.

Méthodologie in vivo


Different systems have been specifically developed for young children chewing behaviour.

Méthodologie in viv


Cerebral mechanisms for flavour perception are registered with electroencephalography coupled to a gustatometer delivering drinks.

Méthodologie in viv

Human model

our studies involve healthy subjects and specific populations (elderly people and young children).

In vitro

- Simulation of oral processing using a chewing simulator or a saliva reactor
- Modelisation of the surface of the oral cavity using an oral mucosa cell line

In silico

Generation of molecular models on odorant molecules to understand et predict structure activity relationships ; network generation ; knowledge organisation.

European Project TeRiFiQ (2012 – 2015) : Combining Technologies to achieve significant binary Reductions in sodium, Fat and Sugar content in everyday foods whilst optimising their nutritional Quality.

TeRiFiQ aims to achieve significant binary reductions in sodium-fat and fat-sugar content of the most frequently consumed food products around Europe whilst at the same time ensuring the products’ nutritional and sensorial qualities, safety and affordability for both industry and consumers.

European Project SALAMANDER (2017 – 2020): SALivAry bioMarkers of mediterraneAN Diet associated with long-tERm protection against type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The SALAMANDER project aims at identifying and validating salivary signatures indicative of healthy dietary choices (adherence to a Mediterranean diet) with a positive long-term health outcome (protection against type 2 diabetes mellitus).

ANR AlimaSSens (2015-2018) : Toward offering healthy food products better adapted to elderly people.

AlimaSSenS aims (1) to understand the impact of age-related changes in oral status on FOP and their consequences on eating pleasure and the bioavailability of nutrients (2) to develop food products adapted to the FOP capacities of the elderly while taking into account the context of the meal and the purchase practices inside this population.

ANR Muffin (2015-2017) : MUcosal salivary Film & Flavor Interactions.

MUFFIN proposes to elucidate the molecular basis of interactions between food constituents and the mucosal pellicle, focusing on two sensory modalities: astringency and aroma perception.

FUI Remus (2014-2017) : redevelop seniors muscles.

This project aims to propose a complete solution to prevent and take care of muscular desorders which impact mobility and thus autonomy of seniors by integrating 2 interdependant elements : specific nutritional products and protocoles for adapted physical activity.

FUI Octave (2015-2019) : new high added value expertises for a better wine ageing.

This collaborative project involving three companies and three research teams is supported by the clusters Vitagora®, Materalia, Southwest Agri Innovation. The aim is to conduct research on the sensitivity of white wines to oxygen by taking into account the impact of the raw material and the impact of the caps to understand the heterogeneity of wines from one bottle to another. Based on an innovative approach that combines scientific approaches and complementary technologies the project will develop innovative product ranges in line with the sensitivity of the wine to oxygen and high-tech services with respect to the sensitivity wine to oxygen.

IC-Qualiment PATATE (2015-2018) : Oral physiology and texture acceptability for young children.

IC-QUaliment QualigrasPhy (2013-2016) : determinants of interindividual variability for human fat perception.

This projects aims at studying the impact of food structure on in-mouth flavour compounds release, at better understanding molecular interactions between aroma compounds and biological targets (salivary enzymes, lipocalines, odorant receptors,…) and to evaluate the respective impact of gustatory and olfactory componants in global fat perception.

Fondation Agropolis : Chaman (2015-2018) : Prédire le potentiel organoleptique « chocolat » d’un échantillon de cacao.

This project aims at setting up a methodology allowing a direct prediction of « chocolate » organoleptic potential of cocoa, without any sensory analysis of associated chocolate.

IC-Qualiment NutriSensAl (2017-2019) : Outil d’aide à la reformulation d’aliments nutritionnellement et sensoriellement bons et répondant aux exigences environnementales.

This project aims to build an ontology-guided data base on daity gels, allowing to relate data on food composition, structure, processes, sensory and nutritional quality and environmental impact.

ISITE Bourgogne Franche-Comté TOM (2018-2021). Taste and Oral Microbiota.

This project aims to relate oral microbiota composition with healthy subjects taste sensitivity and to model the role of microbiota on the modulation of taste stimuli diffusion through lingual film.

ISITE Bourgogne Franche-Comté Junior (2018-2012). EATERS : Brain mechanisms of odor-induced taste enhancement in normal weight and obese populations.

EATERS has fundamental and applied objectives to (1) understand the food mental representation on obese and normo-ponderal humans, which constitutes a decisive criteria for food behavior and (2) study if the taste enhancement by aroma can be an efficient and robust strategy to decrease sugar and salt content consumed by these two populations.

Laffon, E., Hummel, T., Marthan, R. and Sinding, C. (2020). Modelling analysis of centroid curves of olfactory habituation in humans. Physiol. Behav. 214: 112751.

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Brignot, H. and Feron, G. (2019). Oral lipolysis and its association with diet and the perception and digestion of lipids: A systematic literature review. Arch. Oral Biol. 108: 104550.

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Deuscher, Z., Andriot, I., Sémon, E., Repoux, M., Preys, S., Roger, J.-M., Boulanger, R., Labouré, H. and Le Quéré, J.-L. (2019). Volatile compounds profiling by using Proton Transfer Reaction - Time of Flight - Mass Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS). The case study of dark chocolates organoleptic differences. J. Mass Spectrom. 54(1): 92-119.

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Guichard, E., Barba, C., Thomas-Danguin, T. and Tromelin, A. (2019). Multivariate statistical analysis and odour-taste network to reveal odour-taste associations. J. Agric. Food Chem. in press: 10.1021/acs.jafc.1029b05462.

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Pénicaud, C., Ibanescu, L., Allard, T., Fonseca, F., Dervaux, S., Perret, B., Guillemin, H., Buchin, S., Salles, C., Dibie, J. and Guichard, E. (2019). Relating transformation process, eco-design, composition and sensory quality in cheeses using PO2 ontology. Int. Dairy J. 92: 1-10.

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Robert-Hazotte, A., Schoumacker, R., Semon, E., Briand, L., Guichard, E., Le Quéré, J.-L., Faure, P. and Heydel, J.-M. (2019). Ex vivo real-time monitoring of volatile metabolites resulting from nasal odorant metabolism. Sci. Rep. 9(1): 2492.

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Tarrega, A., Yven, C., Semon, E., Mielle, P. and Salles, C. (2019). Effect of oral physiology parameters on in-mouth aroma compound release using lipoprotein matrices: An in vitro approach. Foods 8(3): E106.

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Thomas-Danguin, T., Guichard, E. and Salles, C. (2019). Cross-modal interaction as a strategy to enhance salty taste and to maintain liking of low-salt food: a review. Food Funct. 10(9): 5269-5281.

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Tournier, C., Demonteil, L., Canon, F., Marduel, A., Feron, G. and Nicklaus, S. (2019). A new masticatory performance assessment method for infants: a feasibility study. J. Texture Stud. 50(3): 237-247.

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Villière, A., Symoneaux, R., Roche, A., Eslami, A., Perrot, N., Le Fur, Y., Prost, C., Courcoux, P., Vigneau, E., Thomas-Danguin, T. and Guerin, L. (2019). Comprehensive sensory and chemical data on the flavor of 16 red wines from two varieties: Sensory descriptive analysis, HS-SPME-GC-MS volatile compounds quantitative analysis, and odor-active compounds identification by HS-SPME-GC-MS-O. Data brief 24: 103725.

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Feng, Y., Licandro, H., Martin, C., Septier, C., Zhao, M., Neyraud, E. and Morzel, M. (2018). The associations between biochemical and microbiological variables and taste differ in whole saliva and in the film lining the Tongue. Biomed Res. Int. 2018: 1-10.

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Muñoz-González, C., Feron, G., Brulé, M. and Canon, F. (2018). Understanding the release and metabolism of aroma compounds using micro-volume saliva samples by ex vivo approaches. Food Chem. 240: 275-285.

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Ployon, S., Morzel, M., Belloir, C., Bonnotte, A., Bourillot, E., Briand, L., Lesniewska, E., Lherminier, J., Aybeke, E. and Canon, F. (2018). Mechanisms of astringency: Structural alteration of the oral mucosal pellicle by dietary tannins and protective effect of bPRPs. Food Chem. 253: 79-87.

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Romagny, S., Coureaud, G. and Thomas-Danguin, T. (2018). Key odorants or key associations? Insights into elemental and configural odour processing. Flavour Frag. J. 33(1): 97-105.

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Schwartz, C., Madrelle, J., Brignot, H., Delarue, J., Cuvelier, G., Nicklaus, S., Feron, G. and Tournier, C. (2018). Acceptance of added fat to first complementary feeding purees: An exploration of fat type, feeding history and saliva composition Appetite 131: 160-168.

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Sémon, E., Arvisenet, G., Guichard, E. and Le Quéré, J.-L. (2018). Modified proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) operating conditions for in vitro and in vivo analysis of wine aroma. J. Mass Spectrom. 53(1): 65-77.

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Tromelin, A., Chabanet, C., Audouze, K., Koensgen, F. and Guichard, E. (2018). Multivariate statistical analysis of a large odorants database aimed at revealing similarities and links between odorants and odors. Flavour Fragr. J. 33(1): 106-126.

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Vandenberghe-Descamps, M., Labouré, H., Septier, C., Feron, G. and Sulmont-Rossé, C. (2018). Oral comfort: a new concept to understand elderly people's expectations in terms of food sensory characteristics. Food. Qual. Prefer. 70: 57-67.

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Blanquet, J., Le Fur, Y. and Ballester, J. (2017). Computerized delimitation of odorant areas in gas-chromatography-olfactometry by kernel density estimation: Data processing on French white wines. Chemometrics Intell. Lab. Syst. syst. 167: 29-35.

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  • Europe
  • ANR
  • Bourgogne
  • Vitagora
  • Institut Carnot Qualiment