Effect of Food Matrix on Saltiness Perception-Implications for Sodium Reduction

Wan Yuan Kuo, Youngsoo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enhancing sodium release from the food matrix, thus increasing saltiness perception, is a promising strategy to reduce the amount of salt needed in foods. However, the complex nature of the effect of the food matrix on saltiness perception makes it difficult to control saltiness perception when designing food products. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the food matrix effects on saltiness perception of sodium chloride. The effects are discussed in the order of 3 stages in saltiness perception: release of sodium from food matrix into oral cavity (1st stage), delivery of sodium within oral cavity (2nd stage), and detection of sodium by the taste receptor cells (TRCs) (3rd stage). In the 1st stage, the food matrix affects the initial availability of sodium to be released, and also affects the spontaneous and facilitated migration of sodium from the matrix into the oral cavity. In the 2nd stage, the food matrix affects the availability of sodium and the mixing efficiency of sodium with saliva. The relationship between food matrix and oral processing of food that may affect the sodium release (1st stage) and the delivery (2nd stage) is also discussed. In the 3rd stage, the food matrix affects the physical availability of sodium for the TRCs, the physiological activity of TRCs, and the central activities involved in the perception process. Based on the understanding of complex nature of the matrix effects on saltiness perception discussed in this review, the properties of food matrix may be controlled effectively to enhance saltiness perception and achieve sodium reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)906-923
Number of pages18
JournalComprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Microstructure
  • Oral processing
  • Saltiness perception
  • Sodium reduction
  • Texture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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