About this Research Topic
The sensory characteristics of dairy and meat products play a pivotal role in the buying decisions of consumers. Despite the increasing importance of nutritional and safety aspects, taste, aroma, colour and texture still remain the most valuable features of these products. Their formation and evolution are connected to a complex pattern of constituents and metabolites that continuously change “from farm to fork”. A lot of work has been done by researchers to understand the mechanisms of formation of the sensory characteristics of meat and milk products, but our knowledge is far from complete. In fact, it is a complex multi-factorial phenomenon that is difficult to study in a comprehensive way. The most suitable approach commonly applied is to “isolate” the effect of the single variables: raw matter quality, processing operations and storage/ripening. The influence of raw matter quality has long been debated in connection with two main properties: the qualitative-quantitative composition of microbiota, and the concentration of macro- and micro-constituents. These features are connected to both genotypes and the rearing conditions, but the pre-processing operations in the food industry also play a role. Processing is probably the most relevant variable, since it involves a series of “highly invasive” unit operations, such as heat treatments, addition of additives/technological adjuvants, enzymation, fermentation, etc., which determine deep physic-chemical changes turning into sensory variations. Finally, the period from the end of processing to marketing of the finished product is another relevant variable. This period can be considered as a storage or ripening phase. In the first case, the purpose is to avoid the changes of the quality characteristics of the products or to limit them to well-known variations, as in the case of meat maturation; in the second case, the purpose is to favour deep physic-chemical, microbiological and biochemical changes, addressing them throughout the application of very specific environmental parameters.
This Research Topic will include all studies (review and original articles) which aim to understand or connect the sensory characteristics of meat and dairy products to the different variables cited above. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:
(i) Strategies to improve the sensory characteristics of the raw matter or the finished product.
(ii) Investigations of the impact of single or multiple variables on the physic-chemical, microbiological and biochemical characteristics of the product, in connection with measurement of its sensory quality.
(iii) Development of analytical protocols able to find relationships between chemical quality and sensory features.
(iv) Flavoromics studies.
(v) Case studies involving the chemical-sensory characterization of raw matter or finished products.
(vi) Consumer testing in collaboration with the study of the compositional characteristics.
Keywords: flavor, taste, aroma, chemical composition, processing, storage, ripening, metabolomics, flavoromics, proteomics, lipidomics
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.