Is it still water? Relationships between sparkling sensitivity and consumption frequency of carbonated waters

Sharon Puleo*, Maria Teresa Castillo, Rossella Di Monaco, Markus Stieger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Little is known about how sensitivity to trigeminal stimulation such as carbonation is affected by consumption habits and consumer characteristics. The aim of this study was to determine how detection thresholds for and perception of sparkling sensations in carbonated mineral water are affected by frequency of consumption of carbonated water and individual consumer characteristics. One hundred subjects differing in sparkling water consumption frequency (non-consumers, infrequent consumers, frequent consumers) participated. First, sparkling sensation detection thresholds were determined using the method of best estimate threshold (BET) with CO2 concentrations ranging from 0.03 to 1.05 g/L. Secondly, intensity of sparkling sensation and liking of five sparkling waters (CO2 concentrations ranging from 0.21 to 4.92 g/L) were assessed. To characterize consumers, consumption frequency of sparkling water, sensitivity to 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP taster status) and consumer characteristics were determined. Average detection threshold of sparkling sensation (BET) was 0.44 g/L CO2 concentration. BET of sparkling sensation was not affected by consumption frequency of sparkling water and was not related to PROP taster status and consumer characteristics. Perception of sparkling intensity and liking of carbonated mineral water were significantly affected by consumption frequency of sparkling water. Sparkling sensations were perceived significantly more intensive by non-consumers compared to infrequent and frequent consumers. Surprisingly, non-consumers liked sparkling water significantly more than infrequent or frequent consumers. We conclude that consumption frequency of and preferences for carbonated water do not influence detection thresholds of sparkling sensations but influence suprathreshold intensity perception of sparkling sensations in carbonated water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110584
JournalFood Research International
Early online date2 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • CO perception
  • Individual sensitivity
  • Sensory thresholds, mineral water, carbonated beverages
  • Trigeminal sensations

Cite this