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Influence of low aircraft cabin pressure on taste and odor perception

: Mayer, F.; Burdack-Freitag, A.; Breuer, K.; Holm, A.

Strøm-Tejsen, P. ; International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate -ISIAQ-, Ottawa:
Indoor Air 2008, the 11th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate. CD-ROM : 17th August to 22nd August 2008, Copenhagen, Denmark
Lyngby: Technical University of Denmark, Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Management, 2008
ISBN: 978-87-7877-270-1
Paper 501, 8 pp.
International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate <11, 2008, Copenhagen>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IBP ()

From practical experience aircraft caterers know of and consider reduced taste and odor perception during flights. The meal served has to be more spicy compared to food prepared for normal conditions on ground. The pressure influence on aroma perception was systematically investigated in a simulated aircraft cabin environment with all environmental parameters being controlled and adjusted to normal flight conditions, including pressure (p = 760 hPa). At these conditions individual taste and odor thresholds of some natural and common aroma and taste compounds used by food and flavor industry of 15 experienced test subjects were determined. Experiments were performed as triangular and paired comparison test according to guidelines in food law. A tasting of some white and red wines followed to study the influence on complex perception. Tests were repeated with the same panel the following day at the same conditions at normal pressure (ca. 950 hPa). Perception and recognition thresholds of the subjects at both pressure levels were significantly different. Furthermore, aroma descriptions and intensity ratings during wine tasting differed depending on pressure. The grade of difference was also dependent on the type of wine.