The influence of ageing on supra-threshold intensity perception of NaCl, KCl, sucrose, aspartame, acetic acid, citric acid, caffeine, quinine HCl, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and inosine 5'-monophosphate (IMP) dissolved in water and in `regular' product was studied in 21 young (19¿33 years) and 21 elderly (60¿75 years) persons. While the relative perception (intensity discrimination) seems to be remarkably resistant to the effect of ageing, the absolute perception (intensity rating) decreased with age for all tastants in water, but only for the salty and sweet tastants in product. When assessed while wearing a nose clip, only the perception of salty tastants was diminished with age. The slopes of the psychophysical functions were flatter in the elderly than in the young for the sweet, bitter and umami tastants in water, and for the sour tastants in product only. The age effects found were almost exclusively generic and never compound-specific within a taste. This study indicates that the relevance of determining intensities of tastants dissolved in water for the `real life' perception of taste in complex food is rather limited.
- elderly persons